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Doc Sez “Heat, Humidity and Summer 2019”

It is probably just my own perspective, but this has seemed to be an incredibly steamy and rainy summer. With lots and lots of standing water and damp grass and brush, numbers of mosquitoes, fleas and ticks have exploded. Every late-summer and fall, tick and mosquito borne diseases make an appearance and fleas infest our yards and homes, as well as torment mammals in general, more specifically dogs, cats and humans (sorry).

As school starts, many of us transition to fall and winter schedules and activities, and pet health care may not seem quite as important. But flea populations are going to continue to be unusually large until we have a very hard and long freeze, and I make no predictions about when this may happen. Human and pet tick-borne diseases are starting to show up, after exposure and incubation periods and will continue well into autumn. Humans and pets share the possibility of Ehrlichosis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, as well as, Tick Paralysis (dogs specific, it sounds scary and it is). In this period of warming climate, it is becoming even more important to continue year-round flea and tick prevention. There do not seem to be any periods in our part of the country that are cold enough long enough to suppress flea and tick populations so year-round prevention is necessary. Currently, we are still finding Bravecto Chews and Pour-on to be extremely effective in most environments against fleas and ticks. Continue to monitor your pets, yards, and houses for flea infestations and ticks.

Regarding mosquitos, this year’s rainfall has been frequent and heavy. We can carefully empty standing water containers and hang mosquito prevention stations, and yet it rains again and after just a couple of days, still water begins to teem with mosquito larvae, not to mention our natural ponds and creeks, puddles and ditches. Mosquitos carry West Nile disease to humans and horses. Hopefully, horses were vaccinated in the spring and owners can rest easy about West Nile disease in their mounts and pasture ornaments. No vaccine is currently available for humans, so be religious about using your repellents whenever you are outdoors. Heartworm, spread by mosquitos, is one of the largest health concerns for dogs in southeast Kansas. Plan to continue to use protection all twelve months of the year. Red Barn Veterinary Service can now offer a new way to deliver the heartworm preventative in the form of an injectable product, Proheart 12 from Zoetis Animal Health. One injection and your dog will be protected from heartworms for 12 months. This product, like every product, is not perfect for every pet, owner and environment, but for those of us whose dogs are problems to give oral medications, or those owners who just cannot hit that one month “give it to them now” date, Proheart 12 may be the perfect option. In small dogs, the cost of Proheart 12 injection will be very comparable to the cost of a one-year supply of current heartworm preventatives. For those of us who have dogs that are above 80 pounds, Proheart 12 will be, on average, more expensive, but the peace of mind is “priceless”.

If you have questions or concerns about fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes and the health conditions that are associated with them, give us a call at RBVS and we will discuss the subject with you. (smiley emoji)

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