OMG! It seems like yesterday I was complaining about the cold and today I found 3 mosquitos in the house. We have had warm temps and lots of rain and low lying flooding (pictured above) the past week and the mosquitos are out in force in Febuary!
Living in the Southern U.S. does mean that mosquitos have to be dealt with many months out of the year and Heartworm infestation is rampant here. I have had two dogs infected with heartworm,one of them was so badly infected he was euthanized, the other responded to treatment. Believe me, treatment is not cheap!
Everyone seems to know someone who has had their dog on heartworm preventative only to have them test positive for heartworm microfilaria anyway. Here's the deal- HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVES ARE NOT 100% EFFECTIVE. Plus, dogs can have false positive test results especially if the dog is slightly anemic or a sighthound breed. I suspect a number of dogs have been treated needlessly so if your dog tests positive and is on preventative I suggest a second opinion. The chance is slim that it is a false positive but the chance is there nonetheless and it could save you a bundle and your dog a miserable treatment to undergo.
During mosquito weather, which for me begins today,I use a light mix of cedarwood oil and oil of thyme to help repel the pests.(As we get into summer and West Nile season, I will use the citrus repellent described in an earler post as well.) I used to mix it up in a bottle with vodka and spray it on but now I put a few drops in my hand and rub it vigorously into the coat close to the skin whenever we are going to spend time outdoors.
Juliette De Bairacli Levy, the High Priestess of Holistic Pet Care suggests that adding thyme to the dogs daily diet will prevent microfilaria from maturing into heartworm....I don't know if that is scientifically sound, but thyme grows well outside my backdoor and I do add it to my dogs' diet....since taking these extra precautions I have not had any heartworm infections. But remember, these are additional precautions, not a replacement for a Heartworm preventative medications and regular testing by your vet.
Speaking of HEARTS, Puff, Jazz and myself wish you and yours a Happy Valentines!