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Prevent Common Pests From Bugging Your Pet

In general, bug bites don’t bother pets as much as they do people, but bites and stings can cause your pet to experience a severe allergic reaction. In addition, certain bugs can transmit pathogens that can cause your pet serious illness. Read our Island Animal Hospital team’s bite and sting guide to learn how to help prevent common pests from attacking your furry pal.

Flea bites and pets

Fleas are one of the tiniest creatures that feast on pets. However, these insects can cause significant discomfort in comparison to their size. Pets who are allergic to a protein found in flea saliva can develop an itchy rash that triggers intense scratching, chewing, and licking to the point of hairlessness, skin lesions, and infections. Fleas can also lead to a tapeworm infection. If your pet ingests a flea infected with tapeworm larvae, they can develop a tapeworm infection that may cause weight loss and a poor hair coat. 

Tick bites and pets

Ticks in their larval, nymphal, or adult stages can transmit serious diseases to your pet, which can linger for their entire life. For example, Lyme disease signs can recur when your pet is stressed or ill, and the condition can progress to kidney disease despite treatment. To transmit pathogens, a tick must stay attached to your pet for several hours. For instance, it takes approximately 48 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme disease. Therefore, if you find a tick on your pet, promptly remove the parasite to help prevent your pet from contracting a disease. Ticks can transmit diseases that cause:

  • Lameness
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Inappetence
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Painful joints
  • Bleeding problems
  • Neurologic issues

Mosquito bites and pets

A pet who has a thick coat has some protection from mosquito bites. However, one infected mosquito’s bite can transmit deadly heartworm disease. This insidious, blood-borne parasite slithers through your pet’s tissues to mature and reproduce in the large blood vessels surrounding their heart and lungs. In severe cases, heartworms can lead to heart failure and other complications. Treatment is available for dogs, but it is expensive and can cause significant adverse effects. No heartworm disease treatment is available for cats.

Fly bites and pets

Flies may seem like no more than a buzzing nuisance, but certain species, such as black flies and deer flies, can create enormous, painful welts if they bite your pet. Cuterebra, a type of botfly, can leave behind their larvae that become embedded in your pet’s skin, eyes, respiratory tract, or central nervous system. 

Spider bites and pets

Spider bites can cause reactions that range in severity, depending on the amount of venom a species has. The most dangerous spiders are widows and recluses. If a black or brown widow spider bites your pet, their venom can cause your furry pal to experience muscle cramps and pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors. An affected pet may also develop high heart and respiratory rates. If a brown recluse spider bites your pet, the tissue at the bite site can become necrotic, and your four-legged friend can also become feverish and lethargic. Some pets eventually develop kidney disease or blood-clotting issues.

Bee stings and pets

A pet can experience extreme discomfort if bees, wasps, or hornets sting them, especially if they disturb a hive or nest and several insects attack them. To halt envenomation, you must carefully remove the stinger. You should do this by scraping out the stinger using a credit-card edge. Some stings can cause a pet to experience an allergic reaction, particularly if they receive multiple stings around their face. 

Emergency allergic reactions in pets

Pets can experience severe allergic reactions to bug bites and stings, which result in anaphylaxis. If your pet has been bitten or stung, monitor them closely, and seek emergency treatment if they exhibit any of the following allergic reaction signs:

  • Excessive facial swelling
  • Heavy drooling
  • Hives and extreme itching
  • Incoordination
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue- or purple-tinged gums and tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Generally, a pet’s severe allergic reaction develops shortly after a triggering incident, and may occur within minutes after a bite or sting. Emergency treatment is essential if your pet goes into anaphylactic shock, so head to Island Animal Hospital for urgent care (call to let us know you’re on the way) or your nearest emergency veterinary hospital.

Preventing bugs from hopping aboard your pet in search of a meal is much easier than treating the various maladies they cause. To protect your four-legged friend from bugs, their bites, and their diseases, ensure you provide your pet with year-round parasite prevention. Contact our Island Animal Hospital team to find out which preventive product options would be most effective for your pet.

By |2024-02-14T23:52:06+00:00August 8th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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