Tips to Protect Your Pets from Mosquitoes and Prevent Heartworm Disease

The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) has joined forces with the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) in an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of mosquito-borne diseases that can be harmful to the health of not only humans—but their animal companions as well.

Estimates claim that over 1 million dogs in the United States have been infected with the potentially fatal heartworm disease—an infection transmitted by the mosquito. Although the mosquito host is essential for the development of the immature worms that cause heartworm disease, it does not transmit them directly to the animal through the initial bite. The Immature worms leave the mosquito in a fluidic substance that is deposited on the dog’s skin. The worms then invade the hole
in the skin made through the bite from the mosquito.

“This is a completely preventable disease that devastates pets,” said Joe Conlon,Technical Advisor of the AMCA. “Eliminating mosquitoes around your house in addition to using approved medications can ensure your pet remains a healthy companion.”

To lessen your pets’ exposure to mosquitoes, NAPPS and the AMCA suggest the following:
•  Get rid of water-holding containers (old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums and bottles) that have accumulated in your yard. Mosquitoes breed in standing water and will multiply wherever it’s available.
•  Cover trash containers to keep out rainwater
•  Keep drains, ditches and culverts free of weeds and trash so water drains properly
•  Change the water in bird baths and plant pots or drip trays at least once weekly
•  Repair leaky pipes and dripping outside faucets
•  Ensure door and window screens fit tightly, and repair any holes
•  Maintain short grass and well-trimmed shrubbery around the house, so adult mosquitoes will not hide in these places

“Heartworm preventatives are a proactive approach to keeping your dog’s health and wellness at its best,” said John D’Ariano, former president of NAPPS. “Before administering any type of preventative medication, it’s important to always consult your veterinarian to determine what is best for your pet.”