If I were to write a list of dis-eases in pets caused by bugs … well the list would be long. Not reinventing the wheel > click HERE for a nice thorough list and it prints on nineteen (19) pages! There’s many more dis-eases … have you noticed some people and pets change behaviors around the full moon? Parasites tend to be more active at that time!
Some icky bugs may be more than visually displeasing. “Vector-borne diseases are those transmitted by fleas or ticks (among other parasites) that infest dogs and cats. They can affect pets and people. Ticks can transmit a large number of “vectorborne” diseases in North America including ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia” (CAPC). It seems that vector-borne diseases are becoming more common and sadly at times fatal.
How does a tiny well-hidden bug cause this much trouble? It’s easy to blame the pest. What’s the root cause that allowed this much turmoil in a mammal’s body? “[…] pathogen is not the direct cause, only a symptom of an imbalance […]”, (Engel, 2003). What does that mean!? It’s so simple, keep it simple! A weak immune system attracts pests and parasites. The imbalance is a reminder of the laws of nature.
Let’s pick at a large veterinary profit segment – heartworm. How do you feel thinking of Heartworm? Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid! Actually, Don’t! Once you gain an understanding of the immune system, the fear tactics become obvious. With fear mongering, it’s been forgotten that a perfect storm is needed for this common parasite to infect a dog.
There are two events that need to happen for this parasite to have its successful devastation:
A mosquito becomes infected by biting an infected dog. An infected dog must be at an infection stage 1 (L1). It normally takes 14 days for the larvae to mature to stage 3 (L3). It’s a short window to bite the infected dog!
A dog can harbor the parasite. A male and a female is needed. The larvae will live in the skin. For two weeks, the temperature must be above 50f to 55f. A drop-in temperature will cause the loss of the perfect host - the dog.
Picture retrieved from the Advice for Dog Owners website for illustration purpose only.