Have you ever wondered how a mosquito, so tiny, can do so much damage?
How does a tiny creature like this leave you with such an annoying, ugly, itchy bite? How did this diminutive pest become the most deadly organism on planet earth? A mosquito, with a perfectly functioning anatomy, is brilliant at getting the nutrition it needs to create generation after generation of mosquitoes. It is a necessary feature for a species that has survived for almost 100 million years.
Watch this fantastic video from the Deep Look YouTube channel. You can see how the mosquito bite works through a microscopic lens.
The Anatomy of a Mosquito Bite
Only female mosquitoes bite humans and other animals. They must have a blood meal to create eggs for reproduction. To effectively get the blood needed, the female mosquito has a sophisticated set of six needle-like appendages.
Inside a protective sheath lies the six needles. Each of the six needle-like appendages has a a needed function for biting and getting the much-needed proteins from blood.
Two have tiny teeth so sharp you can barely feel it as she cuts through the skin.
Two keep the skin apart while she works, like small little forceps.
One of the mosquito’s needles probes through the skin looking for blood. This needle-like appendage has receptors for finding the blood vessel. She uses this same needle like a straw to suck out your blood.
The last of the six needles secretes chemicals into your skin to help your blood flow easily, giving you itchy, ugly welts. This is how mosquito-borne viruses are spread so efficiently. An infected female mosquito makes the perfect vector for disease.
If you are concerned of the possible transmission of mosquito borne illnesses, or just don’t want creature creating annoying bites in your yard, you can look at mosquitosquad.com for tips and advice on how to prevent the spread of mosquitoes on your personal property.
Ask any vertebrate if it’s fond of mosquitoes, and you’ll get an emphatic, “Are you crazy?!” in response. But, of all the vertebrates out there, only humans have the scoop on the facts and fiction regarding the pesky little vermin and their capacity to spread disease. Or so you would think. Unfortunately, some humans have fallen prey to some misinformation which we aim to correct.
Myth: All mosquitoes bite.
Fact 1: Not true. Only female Mosquitoes bite. They need a blood and protein meal to lay there eggs. Mr. Mosquito simply buzzes around your head chasing after his honey bunch. Fact 2: Out of more than 3,500 species, a few can actually lay eggs without a blood meal first. They get the protein from other sources. But the biters far outnumber the peaceful ones making it seem like every species is out to get you.
Myth: Mosquitoes can spread HIV.
Fact: Not true. The mama mosquito can deliver malaria, West Nile Virus, encephalitis, Zika virus, dengue fever, chikungunya and other disease through her saliva as she bites you with her proboscis. However, she digests the HIV virus and eliminates it through the other end of her tract, by which time it is rendered harmless.
Myth: People with Type-O blood attract more mosquitoes.
Fact: Like Dracula, mosquitoes are happy to drink anyone’s blood. What draws them is your carbon dioxide emissions and body heat, plus maybe a cocktail of your skin’s genetically-determined fragrance. Perhaps the myth gained traction because Type-O is the most common blood type of all, therefore Type O gets the most bites.
Myth: Citronella candles repel mosquitoes.
Fact: Who started that myth? The guy who invented citronella candles? The truth is, other botanicals effectively repel mosquitoes, but citronella fails to live up to claims.
Myth: Citizens of the United States are in very little danger from mosquito-borne diseases.
Fact: Americans enjoy no special favor in that department. However, as a first world country, America has been able to afford to make the necessary precautions and plans that many mosquito born diseases have been eradicated. But that does not mean that, under the right conditions, an outbreak could not take place. Every year the West-Nile virus comes about, and we have seen in other countries the Zika virus spread like crazy. That can possibly happen here as well.
Myth: Every continent on the planet has mosquitoes. You can’t escape them.
Fact: Yes, you can. But you’ll have to move to Antarctica to do it. Even the arctic tundra and Siberia swarm with these pests briefly during their short summers.
Myth: My family will never enjoy the outdoors in the summer because of the difficulty in eradicating the mosquitoes in my yard and the exorbitant cost of pest control.
Fact: Sit up and smile! If you can work with your neighbors, too, and eliminate all the breeding places mosquitoes love, you can go a long way towards thinning out the hoard. Plus, avoid the yard during the hours of dawn and dusk when the critters are out in force. After that, apply a personal repellent containing DEET so you’re set to enjoy your yard again.
After taking these steps call the authority in mosquito control at the Squad for truly effective and affordable spray and treatment plans. Mosquito Squad of the Triad can eliminate these annoying and sometimes dangerous bites. Call us at 336-617-5268 or email us at [email protected] for a free quote.
Tip #1 involves duct tape. Where would be without this 11th Wonder of the Fix-it World? Here is another great use for it when it comes to ticks. Before ticks become attached to your skin or your dog’s skin, tear off a piece of duct tape and “stick it to them” where the tick is. Peel off the tape slowly and this will take the tick with it. The tick will stay stuck to the tape and prevents them from becoming lost before you can throw them out. Use a big enough piece of tape to fold it over the tick after removing it and seal them inside. When you’re done, throw the tape in the trash. Easy peasy!
Tip #2 involves your trips to the bathroom at home. Don’t worry, this one isn’t as bad as it sounds. Since you have some private time, you are seated on the toilet, and your pants and lower garments are off it is an easy time to spot any ticks on your body.
Ticks like to hang out for a free meal in tall grass and bush environments areas. They climb to a height anywhere from our ankles to knees. They dry out quickly in the heat and sun so they try to find shade ASAP. When they find you, that shade is under your clothes and not outside the fabric. Once they get near your skin, they begin looking for places where the skin is thin and where the biggest blood supply can be found. That is usually in the creases and folds of skin, particularly your waist and groin area.
Using the toilet exposes these areas to our view more than any other time of the day, so it’s sizes of ticksa good time to check for ticks in areas of our body normally hidden from our view. If you feel a bump on your skin in an area and you can’t see clearly, it’s a good idea to inspect more closely with a mirror and flashlight. Larvae and nymph ticks are very small so you may miss them if you are in a hurry to check. Finding a tick embedded in your skin and removed within the first 24 hours it attaches will greatly improve your chances of not getting a tick-borne infection.
Tip #3 uses something we mentioned earlier about ticks. They need damp areas and dry out very quickly in heat. Hard ticks and soft ticks all need moisture, especially hard ticks like deer ticks. Other soft ticks take a bit longer to dry out. Place clothes you wore outside in the dryer as soon as you come indoors. Do this before washing them.
Ten minutes on high heat will dry out hard ticks and 15+ minutes will dry out the softer ones. Washing won’t destroy ticks, no matter how hot the water. Remember, they need moisture and are active in warm months so warmth and water are their two best friends. Very dry and hot are their worst nightmare. Once your clothes are finished in the dryer, wash them knowing you won’t be releasing any ticks into your closets or clothes hamper.
In addition to these tick tips, you can prevent ticks from ever reaching you when at home in your yard. Mosquito Squad of the Triad can treat a barrier spray in your yard that serves as a barrier to ticks, as well as mosquitoes. Our proven and effective traditional barrier treatment eliminates 90% of the ticks in your yard. Preventing ticks from ever reaching you is one of the most effective ways you can prevent tick-borne infections in your family. In addition, you will peace of mind in your backyard during warmer months knowing everyone is better protected. Call the authority in tick and mosquito control at 336-617-5268 or email us at [email protected].
Tick season is here and being aware of the steps you need to take when you are outside will help from being bitten.
Ticks are extremely annoying but their bites can be dangerous to you and your pets. Many people are not aware of the risk several tick borne disease can bring. Some can be debilitating and even fatal and tick populations are on the rise. Ticks are prevalent mostly in the Spring, Summer, and Fall in our area, but the tick season never really goes away with our temperate weather, according to Dr. Sloan Manning with Novant Health Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine.
Lyme Disease is the most common tick borne disease in the United States and is found in ticks in NC, but Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, RMSF, is the most common tick borne disease found here. Between 2008 and 2012 there have been 2000 reported cases of RMSF compared to 1600 reported cases of Lyme Disease. Some studies state that these numbers may be very low as people with mild cases and symptoms of these diseases appear flu like and may go unreported.
Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rash is a common sign of RMSF but it is not always recognizable. Here are some of the other symtoms:
Nausea and possible vomiting
Loss of appetite
It takes 2 to 14 days for symptoms to arise. Another interesting fact is that a tick usually has to be attached for several hours to transmit any disease it may be carrying. So being thorough and checking your person and pets after being outdoors is crucial to lowering possible risks from tick bites.
Here are some steps you control to risk exposure to ticks:
Apply Deet containing insect repellent to skin skin.
Wear long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and boots when doing outdoor activities.
Avoid wooded, grassy or damp areas or places where you might encounter deer or other mammals that may carry ticks.
Take a bath or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors to wash off and more easily find ticks.
Inspect your body using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body, including under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist and especially in the hair.
Make sure your pets are treated with tick and flea protection.
If you have a home and property that are susceptible to the growing tick populations, talk to the authority in mosquito and tick control at Mosquito Squad. They offer a free quote and can offer a barrier spray plan that will eliminate these nasty creatures from your backyard.
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Mosquito Squad had the great pleasure to see and hear Dr. Tim Lane speak at Rotary in Greensboro on what we can expect with the Zika virus in the near future. Dr. Timothy W. Lane, MD is emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and for twenty years was the Chief of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Cone Health System in Greensboro, NC. He began the first infectious diseases consulting program in Greensboro in 1978. Over the past two decades, Dr. Lane served as hospital epidemiologist for the Cone Health System, a multi-campus system with over 1200 beds that includes the 550 bed Moses Cone Hospital, a tertiary care community-teaching hospital.
Dr. Lane discussed the history and reasons Zika has made a substantial presence in South and Central America, and the Carribean regions. The Zika virus was first discovered 69 years ago in primates in Uganda, but was obviously around but never detected for many years. The virus is most active in the tropics and sub tropics where 2/3 of worlds population live. Because of the prevalence of mosquitoes in these areas, the transmission of the virus by mosquito bites is by far the number one way the virus spreads. It is transmitted mostly by the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are present in Eastern and Southeastern United States, which is the concern for it becoming more of a health concern in our area.
The symptoms of the virus in full force on the human body are a fever of 102-103 degrees, severe body aches, and a rash. The virus itself is rarely deadly but can cause severe prolonged health issues such as Microcephaly (small head and brain size in newborns) and Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome in older adults.
It can also be transmitted by sex. Men can carry the virus without knowing in testes for up to 3 months. Since 80% of the people who contract the virus only have minor symptoms, they may get a mosquito bite and not be aware they are carrying the infection. It is suggested men that travel to the tropics have protected sex for 6 months after their return.
Dr. Lane states that 5-10% of pregnant woman infected with Zika transmit the virus to their babies. Of those infected babies, 50% will be afflicted with microcephaly. Some will show more severe symptoms of small head and brain size and because of that can have life long mental and brain function issues.
According to Dr. Lane, there are possible vaccines in development. They will start human testing in the regions most affected starting in the Spring 2017, and expand the testing to larger populations if those results are promising. This testing and approval of the vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration is a lengthy process. The best case scenario has a working vaccine in place in 2 years, according to Dr. Lane.
What happens in the U.S. with the spread of Zika remains unclear. It is possible, but not certain, that we may see more cases. While there are several cases in the U.S. of Zika, only a very few in Florida are the result of transmission by mosquito bites that occurred in Florida. Most cases have been brought in from people that have traveled outside of the U.S. If you are concerned of the possible transmission of this virus and others by mosquitoes, you can look at mosquitosquad.com for tips and advice on how to prevent the spread of mosquitoes on your personal property.
With the present Zika Virus epidemics in the world being advanced by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, scientists are researching to figure out which other mosquito species are capable of carrying and transmitting the virus. The CDC has confirmed that the Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquito is a vector, but there are a great deal more mosquito species still in question. With 28 mosquito species in North Carolina, we may be at greater risk for Zika.
The Zika Virus is an especially dangerous mosquito-borne disease in that it can be transmitted from people to mosquito. Like malaria, this can create a fast spreading epidemic. With world-travel being what it is today all it will take is a few travelers bringing Zika to the U.S. during mosquito season to cause a rapid spread of the disease.
Stay tuned to Mosquito Squad as information is released by governmental agencies, or for protection for your family from these creatures.
What is the biggest killer on earth? Mosquitoes cause one million deaths each year.
According to the World Health Organization, mosquito bites result in the deaths of more than 1 million people every year. The majority of these deaths are due to malaria.
In addition to malaria, mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus, Zika virus, and dengue fever. West Nile is a disease the insects pick up from infected birds. It affects the nervous system and, like malaria, can be very serious in people with lowered immune systems. The virus became prevalent for the first time in the eastern United States around 1999 [source: CDC]. As with malaria, the best way to avoid West Nile is to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes also carry dengue fever, which causes a rash and extreme muscle and joint pain. It can be fatal if not treated properly. Zika virus is similar to dengue, except that in 2015 it was linked to birth defects.
We have just had 8" of snow here in the Triad and the temperatures have been in the single digits. People every winter ask us why, when temperatures get very cold and the ground freezes, doesn’t this extreme cold eliminate all the mosquitoes?
The truth is is that only severe cold, for long sustained periods of time will kill all mosquitoes and their eggs. North Carolina is too far South to keep the daily high daily temperatures below freezing for more than just a couple of days.
Mosquito in the Snow
To deal with the cold that will kill an adult mosquito, female mosquitoes lay their drought-resistant eggs in protected areas. The eggs are resistant to the cold and being frozen. They lie in wait for extended daylight, warmer temperatures, and the presence of standing water that will come with the thaw of Spring temperatures.
Adults can survive the winter, too, in the right situations. The northern house mosquito uses a hibernation system known as diapause . After fall mating, females consume nectar (instead of blood) to build reserves of fat. This will keep them through the winter months They look for basements or eaves of buildings, sewers, logs, or holes in the ground. Place that will not completely freeze, in which to keep themselves protected in the winter.
So when the weather warms in the Spring, take these steps to control mosquitoes in your backyard. 5T’s from Mosquito Squad
Tip the water from standing pots.
Toss out trash and leaves that create moist spots.
Tarps need to be tight over firewood or boats.
Turn over toys, canoes, or items.
Treat your backyard, if these other measures fail to control these itchy, and nasty pests.
For advice or questions on how to control mosquitoes, ticks and fleas on your home or business property. Call Mosquito Squad at 336.617.5268 – the authority in providing a bite free outdoor environment.
Mosquitoes bring nasty and sometimes dangerous
infections with them. The little biters are found in
every state in the US, from Alaska to Florida.
Worldwide, they thrive in every climate whether
hot or cold. Their infections involve either viruses
or parasites. In North Carolina, mosquito viruses affect us and our pets.
Pets are impacted by parasites that can cause heartworm.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is the mosquito virus we’ve heard the most about
in our area. It is transmitted to mosquitoes from infected birds. Once mosquitoes
are found with West Nile in an area, it’s usually just a matter of
time before human cases will begin occurring. Mosquitoes can transmit WNV to horses also. About 20% of us who are infected with WNV will
develop symptoms such as fever, headaches, body aches, joint pain and
diarrhea. Of the 20% with symptoms, the virus will be lethal for 10%,
or one in 1,500.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, is a disease more common to horses.
A vaccine is available for horses, but unfortunately, not for humans. Although
humans rarely contract EEE, it does sometimes occur. When contracted,
1 in 3 people will die from EEE. Fever, headaches, irritability,
restlessness, drowsiness, vomiting, and convulsions are all signs of
an EEE infection.
La Crosse Encephalitis (LCAV) has been reported in North Carolina but
not very often. Symptoms usually occur 5 to 15 days after infection and will
last 2 to 3 days. Symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, and
fatigue. Children under 16 years of age are most at risk for serious
complications but the numbers of cases are rare in our state.
Chikungunya virus has been in the news a lot in 2014 and 2015. The first case in the
Western Hemisphere occurred in the Caribbean, December 2013. There were more than 100,000 cases, including more than 600 in
the US from returning travelers who acquired it outside the US.
identified in africa, chikungunya is now common in southeast asia,
the indian and pacific ocean regions and the caribbean. symptoms
usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
the most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. there is no
vaccine or treatment for chikungunya. symptoms can be severe and
debilitating, nut not necessarily lethal.
Dengue fever and yellow fever have been seen in outbreaks in the us
but are not common and have occurred very infrequently.
since many of these diseases are encephalitis-causing viruses, they share
the symptoms of headache, fever, tiredness and joint pain. if you
experience any of these flu-like symptoms during summer months in nc
and have been outdoors, you should consider the possibility you have
contracted a mosquito-borne infection. in many cases, the symptoms
will subside. if you are over 65 or under 16 years of age, have
hypertension, diabetes, are receiving treatment for another disease,
you should consider contacting your physician to discuss your
The best way to prevent a mosquito-borne infection is to prevent being
bitten. One way you can do that while outdoors in your yard is to use a barrier
spray. Call the authority in mosquito, tick and flea control at Mosquito Squad.
Here at Mosquito Squad, we treat homes for mosquitoes. Living in the Triad of North Carolina, we see many homes that are perfect havens for mosquitoes. This is a list of a few easy tips for controlling your outdoor living space by reducing the places where mosquitoes breed and live.
Turn over the buckets, wagons, and remove toys that can retain standing water—particularly around your pool, garden, and outdoor living places.
Cover all garbage cans with lids that fit snug.
If you have a man made pond, stock your pond with some fish that will eat the mosquito larvae.
Keep trim bushes, shrubs, and vines that touch or overhang your property.
Rake and remove piles of leaves or brush that can collect even small bottle cap size pools of water.
Make sure any tarps on the property are taut, so they cannot collect standing water.
These easy tips can reduce the number of mosquitoes around your property.
Mosquito Squad Can Help You Reduce Mosquitoes.
In the time that you started reading this, another child in Africa has died from Malaria – the disease that’s one of the top 3 killers of children worldwide. These statistics are even harder to fathom given that Malaria has been was completely eradicated in the United States for over 60 years. Mosquito Squad is committed to helping fight Malaria deaths worldwide. At Mosquito Squad of the Triad, we’re fighting the bite in Africa in addition to on the home front here in the Triad NC area. Over the past 3 years, Mosquito Squad’s efforts have saved nearly 100,000 lives and we are committed to continuing and growing our effort. We are committed to a three-year initiative to save 250,000 lives over the next 3 years. Here’s how we’re going to do it. Mosquito Squad of the Triad is committed to supporting Malaria No More – One Child at a Time.
Mosquito Squad is a proud supporter of the Malaria No Moreorganization – an organization committed to fighting Malaria through a couple key solutions::
With just one dollar, Malaria No More can provide a test and treatment process that will successfully diagnose and treat one person for Malaria. The treatment regimen includes the test and a set of 6 pills to cure that person of Malaria. In addition to the diagnosis and the treatment, Malaria No More distributes permethrin-treated bed nets as evening dawn and dusk is the prime mosquito feeding time.
Join us in fighting the mosquito bite both locally and abroad as we proudly support this effort. Locally we can protect you, your family, your pets, and your guests from getting bitten in your yard. Our effective barrier spray creates an invisible barrier around your yard to protect from mosquitoes, ticks and other insects. Our season-long protection program includes treating your property every couple weeks throughout the spring and summer. Mosquito Squad is the authority in outdoor pest control. Utilize us to successfully treat and rid your yard and home of mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Call us today for a free quote. (336) 617 – 5268 or email Triad@MosquitoSquad.com. Visit our Mosquito Squad of the Triad website to learn more about our services.
Spring brings energy and excitement each year. After being inside all winter, we want to be outdoors doing as many fun things as we can. For brides, this often means planning an Outdoor Reception or perhaps a Garden or Lawn Wedding. Some brides will choose a wedding under a Gazebo or Canopy. It seems more and more spring, summer and autumn celebrations are being held outdoors. Your special celebration may be a milestone anniversary, birthday, graduation celebration or family reunion. Perhaps your celebration is simply a backyard get-together with friends and family. It’s just fun to be outside this time of year.
If you are planning a wedding or special event in the Triad area, it’s important to make a list of invited guests. If your event is outdoors, you also want to make a list of “uninvited guests”. Mosquitoes should be at the top of that list. Whether a home wedding or one held at a stunning locale such as WinMock at Kinderton in Bermuda Run, you want to put on an event where guests will take away only fond memories. You don’t want them remembering how nice it was, except for…”the mosquitoes”.
Events held at The Grandover Resort, The Gardens at Gray Gables, and Bicentennial Garden in Greensboro are all ideal outdoor locations for many special celebrations. However, anywhere an event is held in the Triad area, mosquitoes can be a bothersome. You will want to consider protecting your guests from mosquitoes in the reception and seating areas, as well as when they arrive and leave your special event.
We all know that person who describes himself or herself as a “mosquito magnet”. Mosquitoes seem to find them more often than anyone else at outdoor events. That person may be you, a family member or a dear friend. After your celebration, you want guests remembering the exchange of vows, the dancing, the decorations and other special moments at your event. You don’t want them remembering your special moment every time they scratch a mosquito bite after they leave.
Mosquito Squad will help you provide guests with good memories every time they talk about your special event. Our effective mosquito barrier spray will protect your guests from the time they arrive in the valet or parking area until they leave.
How do we protect guests at the event you have spent so much time and effort planning? Mosquito Squad of the Triad provides barrier protection creating a mosquito free environment within the protected area. It’s like an invisible shield for your special area. You let us know if you want this to include under a tent or pergola. Will you be having your special day in a gazebo or on a deck? Will it be near water? All of these are no problem.
Our event sprays are a single spray application, usually on Thursday or Friday before your weekend event. Weekday events are scheduled a day or two before your event as well. This allows the freshest protection for you and your guests. As with our regular mosquito control service, we email you the day before we spray. We will also call you when we are on our way to spray the event location.
Our professional and trained technicians will apply our effective barrier spray to provide protection everywhere guests will be. Our spray eliminates mosquitoes and prevents them from finding your guests. Our technicians will pay special attention to those areas guests will spend the most time at the party.
You will spend a lot of time and effort making sure everything is just right for your guests at your outdoor wedding or special celebration this spring or summer. Planning your celebration and giving guests good memories that last a lifetime is your goal. Let us help you achieve it.
Dog heartworm is a serious and unfortunately, dangerous disease common in canines.. It is caused by a nematode (roundworm) that belongs to the family Filarii,dae. The worm, discovered in 1856 by the American parasitologist Joseph Leidy, has been given the scientific name Dirofilaria immitis. The adult worms live in the heart and large vessels of the lungs. Adult female Dirofilaria measure from 9 to 16 inches in length. The males are a little more than half as long and are characterized by the cork screw turns of the posterior end often referred to as the “pigtail.”
Both male and female live within the chambers of’ the heart, usually extending through the valves. The worms prohibit proper valve closure as blood is pumped from one chamber to the next, seriously impairing the operation of the heart. In serious infestations the worms travel up the pulmonary artery and clog the blood vessels of the lungs. The results are loss of weight, dropsy, chronic cough, shortness of breath, muscular weakness, disturbances of vision, chronic heart failure, and eventual death.
How does the mosquito carry heartworms?
Adult worms living within the heart produce minute organisms known as microfilariae that circulate in the blood stream. Microfilariae, named because they are microscopic, are actually the larvae of heartworms that are incapable of reaching the adult stage without first passing through a developmental stage in the mosquito.
Mosquitoes feeding upon an infected dog take up a number of these microfilariae with the blood meal. The freshly acquired microfilariae migrate through the digestive tract of the mosquito to the abdominal region where they undergo a transformation. Within 14 to 21 days they reach the infective stage. Then the larvae are actually miniature adults that are small enough to live within a mosquito.
Next, they break into the body cavity of the mosquito and migrate to the mouth parts.The mosquito is now ready for its second blood meal. As the mosquito feeds upon its host, the infective larvae are passed on the skin. These small worms travel into the dog and lodge in the tissue where they remain for months. Worms that enter hosts other than canines generally die within several days.
After they increase in size, the worms leave the tissue and enter the blood stream through the wall of a small vessel. Then they move through the blood stream and lodge into the chambers of the right side of the heart where they develop into adult heartworms. This cycle takesapproximately 9 months. Remember that the microfilariae cannot complete their life cycle without first living in a mosquito. Of the millions of microfilariae that are produced by the adult worms, only a few get a chance to pass through a mosquito. The remainder circulate through the blood of a dog where they eventually die; however, they are continually being replaced with fresh microfilariae supplied by the breeding adults living in the dog’s heart.
How do infected canines react to the disease?
Since symptoms of dog heartworm vary considerably in different animals, a veterinarian is the only person qualified to give a diagnosis. Most dogs show the first visible indications of infection only after the illness has gotten to the point where treatment is no longer possible. Active dogs generally show a tendency to tire easily. Shortness of breath or repeated coughing are the positive signs of heartworms Hunting dogs are often no longer able to maintain the rapid pace of the chase and frequently drop from exhaustion. Jaundice, convulsions, and disturbances of vision may occur in extreme cases. Emaciation often comes before death. All dogs with adult heartworms should show some microfilarial activity in the blood system. A blood test made by a veterinarian is the only way to know for sure whether or not your dog has heartworm disease. Since microfilariae generally appear in the blood within 9 months after an infection occurs, mild cases of the disease can and should be detected and treated long before any symptoms appear.
What can you do?
Protecting dogs from mosquito bites may be necessary in those areas where mosquito populations are numerous. Screening the dog’s sleeping areas is essential to prevent repeated bites. Additionally, you should consider receiving monthly yard treatments from a professional mosquito treatment service. Preventative medication should also be used, especially in areas of known infection.
A periodic blood test is the most secure precaution measure because it will reveal an early infection animal. Because a pet appears healthy is not a reason to believe that it does not have the disease. Your dog could be the carrier responsible for an entire local outbreak.
Purebred, or mix breed, isn’t your dog’s well-being worth protecting it from dangerous, biting, life threatening mosquitoes?