Monday, July 18, 2011

You Say Mosquito, I Say...Well...Mosquito

Remember that famous heartworm map from the last post on Heartworm in general? With the dark colors areas where you are not going to avoid heartworm no matter what (but can prevent it of course), and then the lighter areas where there is heartworm, but not originally in that area so much? And the whole make it easy, heartworm is brought to you by the letter M, for Mosquito with the giant mosquito picture?

There are definitely more details if you are interested!

First, mosquitoes. Did you know that this group existed? Yes, the American Mosquito Control Association!

And here is a blog that has some information from that group. Not to be all "the sky is falling!" (um, again) but "mosquito control experts are expecting the summer of 2011 to be the worst mosquito season in decades." According to that blog a couple of things we can do is to get rid of standing water and to not go out an hour before and after dawn and an hour before and after dusk. Of course, that's when it's cooler so that's where using a heartworm product that you get from a veterinary office or reputable online store will come into play.

So what's the more complicated part? Heartworm: Beyond the Mosquito (that would be the movie title if we could make this into a summer blockbuster, probably starting Christoph Waltz as a very bad mosquito).

From this link:
Heartworm disease is present on every continent except Antarctica.(1) It occurs where these four factors are found:

1. a susceptible host population (DOGS!)
2. a stable reservoir of the disease (UNTREATED dogs)
3. a stable population of vector species (MOSQUITOES)
4. a climate that supports the parasite’s life cycle (but note that AHS still recommends year round use of medicines such as Interceptor)
Dogs are considered the definitive host (2) for the parasite; even though the disease is not transmitted directly from one dog to another, untreated dogs provide a stable reservoir for the disease.
Note the whole "the disease is not transmitted directly from one dog to another" idea. That just means that a dog doesn't lick another dog and give them heartworm. Or a dog can't get heartworm from eating the poop (yes, some dogs do that - not ours of course) of a heartworm positive dog. And they can't get it from sitting on the toilet seat after a heartworm positive dog either!

This is the easiest explanation I could find and it's from Interceptor. The infected dog is #2 from above. The mosquito is #3. The healthy dog is #1. If they are on a med, the heartworm will not develop into adults. If they are not, the cycle can begin. I am hoping this makes sense, because it's taken a while for us to get it to make sense in our heads too.
When you look at that, and can understand that, you can either stop there, knowing enough, or you can go nitty gritty. This graphic talks about Larval stages:
And we will finish up with that next time we talk about HW disease!

Next post: Back to Mila!
It's about time!

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