Creepy Crawlies

Insects have been popping up all over the blogs this week. I guess we’re collectively preparing for “bug season.” shudder

Our worst problem, far and away, is mosquitoes. I’ve counted twenty on me at a time in the park after a rain storm. And that was just my front side. For dogs, mosquitoes mean heart worm. My state is very high up the list of heart-worm prevalence. In the one exception to my general medication paranoia, Silas is on a heart worm preventative year round. We use the cheap and easy HeartGard chewables. Silas adores those things. They’re beef flavored, which can set off an allergic reaction in susceptible dogs, but we’ve been fine so far. Bonus, for us, is that ivermectin also kills hookworms and roundworms. Since Silas is an inveterate snarfer of wildlife poop on the rare occasions that he has access, I like that. (It is not effective against tapeworms, which are especially prevalent in rabbit droppings, so we keep an eye out for those.) We do still have the nuisance of the mosquitoes themselves, so if you know a good, dog-safe deterrent let me know.

I dance a happy jig every summer that Silas has such short white hair. Dog chewing himself? Look around, find the flea, kill the flea. We used Comfortis for a while, before I put two and two together and realized that he didn’t need it. (Please, please, read M.C.’s post about Comfortis dosages if you have a small-medium sized dog.) Silas is not a good candidate for topical flea treatments, because of recurrent skin issues that have been especially bad in the summer.

We had two major tick infestations last summer. Make that, “every time we left our area.” Ticks aren’t a bad problem locally–I suspect that we get too much sun. We very foolishly trotted off to the Ozarks on vacation with our dog who is on no tick prevention of any kind. Silas loves to root around in underbrush. I had to pick baby ticks from between Silas’s toes, among other places. The second one was, we thought, late enough in the year that we didn’t have to worry. I was wrong. The vet took one look at Silas and put him in a tick bath. (We’ve also done a tick-borne disease panel since then, don’t worry.) She then recommended a Preventic collar for the rest of our outings. The ostensible benefit is that it will kill and detach even ticks that are already present. I’m a little on the fence about actually using it, but last year was so horrific that I feel compelled.

What’s the worst creepy-crawly in your area? How do you and your dog cope?

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12 thoughts on “Creepy Crawlies

  1. OMG I’d freak out if 20 mosquitoes were on me at once.

    It is quite nice knowing that MT weather doesn’t allow fleas to survive… not sure about ticks, hmm. Even so, Elli rarely got fleas in OR even during the “worst flea season to date” last year. I agree with the short white hair thing. 🙂 Into the bath with ya if I saw even one. Totally paranoid about them, too.

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    1. The mosquitoes are horrific here. And they’re a weird species, too–they hurt when they bite. Not what I grew up with at all. The city sprayed last year because of West Nile. Aside from the wholesale application of pesticides thing, it was pretty awesome.

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  2. We don’t normally have ticks in this area but one year our neighbor brought dogs down from the mountains and we were barraged with ticks for one entire month. I finally offered to spray their yard while she watched Oprah and that took care of it. What evil creatures they are. (the ticks I mean)

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  3. Mosquitoes have a tendency to bite me in the oddest places (inside nostrils, eyelids, upper lip, etc.) so I am quite grateful that Bay Area climate virtually eliminates them. Fog rolls in… poof! Reset the mosquito egg-hatching cycle, if there were any to begin with. Annual heartworm positives in the area number in the single digits for most surrounding counties, and those cases are usually dogs who imported their worms, alas.

    It’s a different story altogether in Taiwan and Michigan, those places I grew up, where it was really hammered home that dogs MUST be on heartworm prevention or else they suffer a really awful, easily preventable issue.

    Ticks… I’ve found two in total over the years. I think they freak me out more than the dogs.

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    1. Silas always wants to investigate the ticks as they come off. Let me look at it!!!!!

      My vet says that, around here, heart worm is a “when, not if” without the prevention. The local rescues I follow seem to support that–I almost never see a new dog taken in that doesn’t have it.

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  4. Did Silas use the Preventic collar last year or will you maybe try it this year? Just wondering if you did use it, how was his skin?

    We do flea, tick and heartworm prevention in the summer months. Even with the preventative medication, we occasionally find ticks, only one or two a year so no big deal. Occasionally, depending on where we are, black flies are a problem, resulting in swollen ears and welt-like bites on the under bellies.

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    1. Black flies! Ugh. I’d rather have mosquitoes any day.

      We did not use it. It was freakishly late in the season when he had that outbreak–November, maybe? We didn’t travel anywhere else until Christmas, which was definitely frosty enough to kill ticks.

      I suspect that it’s a case of the lesser evil–even if it irritates his skin, it won’t be as bad as the thirty ticks he got last year.

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  5. My first Wellness Wednesday post will be about flea and tick prevention. I’ve been pretty lucky….we have our yard sprayed and then I have them on an oral protocol as well as a spray. Rinsing them off after an outing helps and I check them every day. Occasionally they get a tick but last year I think we had two total. Not bad at all in my opinion.

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    1. I would spray the yard, too, if I lived in Lyme country like you do. Nasty stuff. Does their oral medication do ticks? Or just fleas? Make sure and tell us in your post!

      The city sprayed last year for mosquitoes here and it was heavenly compared to year before last.

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  6. We’re pretty lucky. With such a long, cold winter, we don’t have major bug problem. Mosquitos are a nuisance but not a major problem.

    I guess your post is a reminder to be thankful for our long, cold winters.

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