High number of mosquitoes causing issues for pets
After record rainfall and massive flooding, the standing water has led to an increase in the mosquito population in Michiana and it's affecting pets.
While mosquitoes are really a nuisance to us humans, they can also be just as big of an issue to your pets. They can cause some real issues if your pet isn't up to date with vaccinations and medications. So with higher than normal populations of mosquitoes, it's more important than ever to take care of man's best friend.
Even weeks after the rainfall, effects from the massive rains are still lingering.
"I went out to pick tomatoes the other night," Phil Sutton, Purdue Extension educator in Ag and Natural Resources said. "I got driven out in five minutes because there were so many mosquitoes."
The South Bend Pet Refuge has been dealing with the effects from the start. First, the flood waters kept them out of their building for a few days. No damage to the animals or building itself, but they had to wade through water just to get to the building. But now, the extra mosquitoes are keeping the dogs inside.
"The aftermath is with the standing water," Pam Comer, President of South Bend Pet Refuge said. "Now we have this huge infestation with mosquitoes. It's really tough on the animals. Normally they would be out in the play yards getting exercise and walked. Both the volunteers and dogs, it's not an environment we want to put them out in for an extended period of time. One of the volunteers said she had a dog out and in the short time they were out there, there were a half dozen or so bites."
But the bites can be more than just an annoyance for the dogs.
"Mosquitoes are a carrier for heartworm and a dog is infected by the bite of a mosquito," Comer said. "With this infestation, there is more likelihood of that type of thing. All of our dogs are on heartworm medication so that would be the biggest thing. Not necessarily for our dogs but the general population. People who don't have their animals on heartworm preventatives."
However, this issue isn't going to go away overnight.
"As we're standing here, it's raining," Sutton said. "We're going to keep some wet areas so we're going to have breeding for the mosquitoes. Those big rains set up these ideal areas. What people can do always, they need to make sure they're not mosquito breeders for their neighborhood."
Sutton suggests emptying any standing water you may have on your property, including cleaning out your gutters so they're flowing well. The best defense is also word of mouth, letting your neighbors know they should do the same.
Pam from Pet Refuge says not to use spray repellents on, or around your dogs as they could really harm them. Also, if you're taking your dog for a walk, she suggests doing it before the evening as that's when most of the mosquitoes are out. Sutton also suggests wearing light colored clothing and stay out of shade as that's what attracts mosquitoes.