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As a pack leader, you must be aware of the problems that insects like mosquitoes and fleas can cause to your pet. However, did you know that there a whole bunch of arachnids that spell serious trouble for your cats and dogs? Making yourself more familiar with the common eight-legged creatures, and learning to treat their stings and bites will help you protect your pets from serious illnesses, and in some cases, even death.
How to prevent and treat pest bites
- Ticks – They are eight-legged parasites which tend to feed on the blood of your pet. They can also be the host of and transmit serious diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease. With a dark body and hard-backed carapace, they tend to be more active in the warm climates and months. They reside in tall grass and attach themselves to the skin of passing animals after which they crawl upwards. They most often burrow near the neck, ears, head and feet.
- Mites – This is one of the most common arachnids for cats and dogs. They tend to cause two kinds of mange in pets: sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange. Although neither of them is particularly life-threatening, they can cause serious infections on the skin if they are left untreated. Ear mites also tend to cause complications in cats' and dogs' inner ears.
- Spiders – Most of the spiders that are found in the United States are not poisonous. However, getting bitten by them can still cause a lot of swelling and pain. The bites of brown recluse and black widow spiders are toxic though. They can cause either paralysis or intense pain and even death in some cases. This is particularly true of the black widow spider.
- Scorpions – Just like the spiders, most of the scorpions that are found in the United States are non-toxic. But their venom can cause severe localized pain in your pet. Some of the more dangerous of the scorpions, like the Centruroides exilicauda, also known as the California bark scorpion – inject their venom into the pets along with a neurotoxin that can severely impair the central nervous system of your pet.
If you are worried that a scorpion or a spider has bitten your dog or cat, contact the vet immediately. For serious scorpion and spider bites, pain medication
and antivenin are recommended as treatment. In the case of ticks, tweezers can be used to remove them by grasping their head and pulling them straight up. If it is possible, let the vet know about the type of arachnid you think has bitten your cat or dog.The best way to protect your pets is to ask the vet about the appropriate tick and flea medication
. If you plan on spending time outdoors with the pets, keep them on a leash, especially in wooded or grassy areas and make sure to keep an eye out for any of those pesky little eight-foot arachnids that might be underfoot.