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Insect Diseases and Your Pet.

The diseases spread by biting insects can be very serious to your pet. Each year it seems as if the risk of disease increases. While much of this is simply an increased knowledge of these diseases, there is good reason to take proper precautions for both you and your pet. Fortunately, there has also been in an increase and an improvement in the ways to either prevent these diseases or repel the insects that cause them.

Starting with basics, fleas and ticks are the most common pet insect problem and can also spread diseases. Fleas, while less risky than ticks, can spread tapeworm. Highly annoying, they can cause distress and/or allergy problems for pets. Also, they can create health problems particularly for elderly or already ill pets. However, the diseases that they spread tend not to be terribly serious. Ticks alternatively are associated with some potentially deadly diseases such as lyme disease, erlichiosis, babesiosis, and tick paralysis.



Mosquitoes are particularly dangerous because of their ability to spread heartworm. There is an increasing concern about diseases such as West Nile Virus being spread to people and pets. Also, encephalitis is another serious disease carried by mosquitoes. Fortunately, since there is a vaccine for heartworm the riskiest mosquito disease can usually be avoided. One of the concerns with mosquitoes is their potential. Mosquitoes carry some of the most deadly diseases throughout the world, Malaria being the most severe. Luckily those diseases aren’t a concern in North America, but it does show the potential of mosquitoes to be lethal.



The ways to prevent insect problems are numerous. One effective and frequently recommended treatment is flea and tick drops. Some even protect against mosquitoes. While there is a movement for owners to purchase this type of drop on their own they aren’t risk free, and it is a very good idea to consult your vet first. These drops vary from brand to brand, yet the premise is the same. The drops are applied to the pet’s skin, which goes into the blood stream and poisons the insects. Because these drops are a poison the type of drops you choose, the type of pet you have, and his current health situation are very important in determining the risks versus the benefits. Cat owners should be particularly careful. Only use medicines specifically intended for cats. Some of the drops used for dogs can be toxic to cats. Also, if you own both cats and dogs be very careful in the application. Certain dogs and certain breeds of dogs can also be sensitive these medications, which is why a visit to your vet is a good idea. While it’s important to realize that there are risks, they are very effective for many pets.



Many people find it useful to use more than one method of insect elimination. First, it is rare that any one treatment will be 100% effective in 100% of the cases. Second, some treatments combat certain types of insects that others do not. Finally, depending on circumstances different treatments are easier or more effective to use.



Other methods of repelling insects include repellent sprays. Some are natural, and some include chemicals and insecticides. Risks exist for the chemical and insecticide sprays similar to those of the drops. Many find natural sprays preferable because they aren’t putting people or pets at risk, yet they remain very effective. Frequently they are also more pleasant in scent. A flea and tick collar is usually an easy product to use, but effectiveness can very greatly. Also, some pets become quite skilled at slipping them off. Ultra sonic devices such as collars and tags are a relatively new development that emits a sound to repel bugs. The bonus is that there are no toxins; the drawback is that it appears that brand and type are crucial in how effectively they work. Since no method is always completely effective it is important to check for and remove fleas and ticks from people and pets periodically. Keeping your pet updated on appropriate vaccines and insect medication is also a good way to combat the spread of these infectious diseases.



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