You want a healthy and happy life for your pets, but sometimes nature itself poses a risk to your furry friends. Even a brief encounter with common insects could have potentially deadly consequences for animals. Prevention is your best defense against disaster, and a Baton Rouge pest control company can help eliminate these threats before they cause a problem. However, if an incident should occur, knowing what to look for and when to intervene and seek medical attention could mean the difference between life and death for your animals.
Bugs That Bite
It’s not easy for bugs to get a bite through an animal’s thick fur. If they do, the consequences can range from slight discomfort to something much more serious.
Most spider bites cause minor reactions with a small area of painful inflammation, but some arachnid varieties have highly toxic venom that can be extremely dangerous for your pets. A bite from a black widow can cause aggressive symptoms, including muscle pain, difficulty breathing, and paralysis. A brown recluse bite causes cell damage that spreads from the initial puncture wound, so early intervention is critical to prevent significant tissue death that may require surgical removal or amputation. Brown recluse spiders tend not to attack unless agitated, so cats that explore small, dark spaces where these arachnids hide are more at risk.
In typical cases, flea bites cause nothing more than local itching and irritation, but a more severe reaction called allergic dermatitis can occur. Your pet may resort to excessive scratching to ease the itch, causing sores, bleeding, and bald patches. Preventative treatments are widely available, but topical reactions to flea bites can be alleviated with antibiotics prescribed by your vet.
Bed bug bites can make you and your pets itchy and uncomfortable, but they tend to be more of an annoyance than a threat. Some other biting or stinging insects, such as ants or bees, are also most likely to cause minor symptoms. However, in some cases, a more serious allergic reaction like anaphylaxis can occur, which will require medical attention. If you find bed bugs in your home, a Baton Rouge pest control service can help clear them out to protect you and your animals.
Bugs That Transmit Disease
With some insects, their bite doesn’t cause much damage on its own. However, even tiny bugs with weak bites can transmit potentially deadly pathogens.
Mosquitoes are a common nuisance for humans, but they can be a bother to your pets as well. Furred animals have protection on most of their bodies, but some areas, such as their noses or ears, are more susceptible to bites. Common mosquito-related symptoms include the expected itching and irritation, which can be treated topically. A greater risk that mosquitoes pose is the spreading of disease. Illnesses that affect humans, such as West Nile virus, may also impact your pets, as well as some diseases that are more common in animals. Heartworm is a common risk for dogs and cats while Eastern equine encephalitis, a much rarer condition, can have deadly consequences for horses. If you live near still or stagnant water, your pets are especially at risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Animals that spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly at night, are also more likely to be bitten.
Ticks are a common problem for pets that spend a lot of time in wooded areas, especially if they’re unsupervised. An expert in Baton Rouge pest control is familiar with local species of ticks and has the tools to keep them under control. A well-known tick-borne illness in humans, Lyme disease, can also be contracted by your animals. If you find a tick on your pet, you should carefully remove it as soon as possible, as a prolonged bite can cause tick paralysis. Symptoms of this condition include vomiting and difficulty breathing, and if left untreated, it can even result in death.
A lesser-known pest with lethal potential is the kissing bug. This insect tends to bite humans and animals near the mouth, transmitting parasites that cause an illness known as Chagas disease. This condition can progress in your pets for months or even years without being detected, often leading to heart failure. Chagas disease affects more dogs than cats, and there is currently no known cure for animals, so prevention is vital. Sealing points of entry to your home and clearing out areas where the bugs can hide may reduce the possibility of infection.
Bugs That Are Dangerous To Eat
Curious pets aren’t just prone to bites or stings. If your dog or cat likes to eat everything in sight, including insects, you should be aware that some of them could cause a toxic reaction.
Butterflies and Caterpillars
There are some insects that you would never expect are harmful, but a Baton Rouge pest control professional has the expertise to minimize even unlikely threats. The monarch butterfly itself isn’t poisonous, but its caterpillar form, as well as the milkweed plants it tends to hide in, can be dangerous to eat. Some other caterpillars, such as the woolly bear, are also harmful if ingested.
Crickets, beetles and cockroaches are known carriers of parasites, and ingesting one of these creatures could cause stomach worms. Using an insecticide to eliminate June bugs can make them toxic to eat, and the foul-smelling fluid produced by stink bugs can cause irritation in the mouth, as well as nausea. Insects with a carapace are hard to digest, so if your pet consumes a lot of them, it could develop a mass called a bezoar that will need to be surgically removed from his intestines.
The chemical that causes a firefly’s glow can also be harmful to animals if eaten. Larger pets will most likely just experience an upset stomach or vomiting, but smaller pets such as cats and even lizards or birds may be fatally poisoned.
Keep Your Pets Safe
There’s no reason to put your pets’ health at risk. While some household treatments may be effective in relieving your pet’s symptoms, some of them may cause further harm, so you should seek the help of a veterinarian for medical intervention. The assistance of a Baton Rouge pest control company can get rid of dangerous pests before they have a chance to harm your furry family members.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.