Hunting Without Insect Pests
A dog bounding through the brush to flawlessly flush out a bird brings a rush of pride as the hunter completes the shot. The grass rustles as the dog then springs into action to pick up the downed bird. All goes according to plan, except the dog has been exposed to ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes that could transmit serious diseases.
Running through brush, grass, and soggy areas puts hunting dogs at high risk for exposure to fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Dogs can be a target whether they are big or small, long haired or short. Ticks can reach out and attach themselves to dogs regardless how quickly the dog is moving. Some common tick species can transmit diseases within minutes of attaching to a dog, so combing out the tick at the end of the hunt could be too late.
“We recommend treating hunting dogs with K9 Advantix™ all year long to help repel and kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Whether they are in training, playing outside, or hunting, they face much higher risks of exposure to disease-carrying pests than other dogs,” says Joe Hostetler, DVM, a veterinarian on staff at Bayer Animal Health.
Assessing the Tick Risk
Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are the two most common tick-borne diseases of dogs in the United States. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be transmitted after only five hours of tick attachment, and Lyme disease can be transmitted after only 24 hours of exposure. Veterinarians agree, the best approach to preventing these diseases is to repel ticks before they can attach.
The risk of exposure to tick-borne disease varies greatly with geography, and the risk can rise and fall with the weather. Ticks are tenacious pests, often having the ability to survive years without feeding, and many can wait out cold spells only to become active during warmer autumn periods. Some people depend on being able to remove ticks following outdoor outings. This can be difficult as the deer tick, which is responsible for transmitting Lyme disease, is about the size of a pencil point. It is hard to find these ticks, especially on dark-coated animals.
Veterinarians recommend treating hunting dogs with a preventive product, such as
K9 Advantix, that repels and kills ticks before they can feed. Studies show that dogs are still protected even if they jump in the lake to retrieve their birds. If the dog has not been treated, then it is important to inspect the dog’s entire body as soon as possible after outdoor exposure to brushy or grassy areas.
Be watchful for signs of tick-borne diseases if you suspect your dog has been in unprotected contact with ticks. Those signs are:
- A rash at the site of attachment
- Weakness, especially in the legs
- Swollen or sore joints
If you notice any of these in the weeks following exposure, take your dog immediately to the veterinarian. Bring the removed tick, if you have it. With proper and prompt medical treatment, many of the most common tick-borne diseases can be successfully treated.
Mosquitoes Are More Than Annoying
Mosquitoes are the most dangerous insects in the world, accounting for millions of deaths worldwide each year because of the diseases they transmit.
K9 Advantix acts as a contact repellent, which means that after landing on a treated dog, the mosquitoes become uncomfortable and leave the animal. The active ingredient then paralyzes the mosquito so it dies quickly, before it is able to bite anyone else.
Beyond the concerning possibility of disease transmission, mosquitoes can be as annoying to dogs as they are to humans. Mosquitoes like to bite dogs where fur is less dense, such as the abdomen, muzzle, and around the ears. The bites itch dogs like they do humans, and scratching can lead to secondary infections. The best solution is to give your dog mosquito protection with a canine health care product just as you treat yourself with a product intended for humans.
The same dense brush that birds like to hide in is prime habitat for fleas. With an amazing ability to jump, fleas are the original hitchhikers, jumping easily onto dogs as they run by. Crawling deep within the dog’s hair coat, fleas take the ride home and set up housekeeping in the dog’s environment. If your dog comes inside the house, they can spend the winter infesting the carpet, couches and dark, hidden spaces.
The cat flea, the flea most commonly found on dogs and cats, can serve as an intermediary host to dog tapeworms. Some fleas carry a cyst of the tapeworm that can be ingested by pets, transmitting the tapeworm to the animal.
The most common problem caused by fleas is itching and pain. Some dogs are extremely allergic to flea bites, so in these dogs, they develop allergic dermatitis. This causes a rash, inflammation, and hair loss. Dogs with allergic dermatitis frequently scratch and bite the affected area until a secondary infection sets in, requiring antibiotics.
The best treatment is a preventive flea medication. K9 Advantix can stop fleas from biting in less than five minutes, kill adult fleas before they lay eggs, and quickly kill flea larvae. The key to controlling fleas is to keep them off the dog and out of the dog’s bed and your house.
As with any pet treatment, discuss flea, tick, and mosquito control with your veterinarian. Preventive treatment gives you the best chance of hunting without interference from unwanted insect pests. For more information, visit www.k9advantix.com
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