With the recent warm weather and the advent of summer, it is important to be aware of the diseases that can be spread by the insect and arthropod vectors like the mosquito, tick and flea. These three parasites carry a lot of diseases that not only affect your pet but also can cause sickness in you.
The mosquito-borne diseases which are spread by a bite from a mosquito include Heartworm Disease, Encephalitis, West Nile, and Yellow Fever. Heartworm disease can be fatal to dogs if left untreated, but it is easier to prevent it than treat it. The other diseases can affect humans as well with clinical signs ranging from fever to headaches to even death.
Ticks carry numerous diseases. The most common is Lyme Disease. Lyme disease presents itself as a high fever, lameness and arthritic. The pets are reluctant to walk and we tend to see some swollen and warm joints. Other tick-borne diseases include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, and Tick Paralysis. The best way to prevent these is to use flea and tick collars along with sprays and topicals on the pets back.
Lastly fleas can not only be a nuisance to pets, but also spread disease. They are implicated in spreading the bacteria that caused the Bublonic Plague along with Cat Scratch Disease and tapeworms. These diseases are zoonotic, which means that they can be transferred to people.
The summer is a fun time, but also many vectors are out there. It is best to prevent them by using appropriate flea and tick products, mosquito repellants and heartworm preventatives.