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Canine Allergies And Mosquito Bites
The warm months of May throughout October are great for some people. It's a time for camping and parties outside under the sun or stars. For others it means a time for that race to the store for new supplies of bug repellent. Whether it is spray, roll-on or cream, it is in high demand. We prepare ourselves for the long hot days of summer that tend to bring out those pesky bugs.
What we don’t tend to prepare ourselves for is the reaction that those same bug bites can have on our pets. Animals can have allergies to insects just like we can. The thick coat of canine hair or fur does not protect them from the hazards of being outside.
My daughter Rochelle has two dogs. Nikita is a lab mix, and Bailey is a miniature boxer. Both dogs are very loyal to my daughter. Bailey, the boxer, loves to go outside and play, but when it comes to bedtime she would rather be right beside my daughter sleeping. Nikita will bend the loyalty a bit when it comes to bedtime. She will endure other arrangements if she has no choice.
Well, they went camping just this long weekend. The woods are full of black flies and mosquitoes. Black flies only come out during the day for the first two weeks of the hot season. Nighttime is only interrupted by mosquitoes. Since the tent was going to be full of humans, the dogs had to sleep elsewhere. Arrangements had been made for the pooches to sleep in another tent away from the dogs owners.
Bailey, being the stubborn baby that she is, decided she did not want to sleep where they tried to put her. She refused to go inside the tent to sleep because that was not mommy’s tent. They tried to get her into the tent by coaxing her, and when that didn't work, they tried pushing her in through the entrance. That didn't work either. Since there was no room in the tent with my daughter, Bailey was left to sleep outside.
Come next morning, Bailey’s appearance took on a whole new look.
Bailey was whimpering and scratching herself raw. Her eyes were swelling shut and the bumps were getting worse. Rocky ended up having to give her a Benedryl to calm her down and fight the effects of the bites. Bailey managed to calm down a bit; however; it took a while longer for the swelling to come down.
When you live out in the country all your life, it is easy to tell a bite from a sting. It’s also easy to tell if the bumps on the skin are bites or hives. Bailey was whimpering and so intent on scratching that she was going nuts.
A mild reaction may be defined as fever, loss of appetite or lethargy but it usually resolves on its own.
More severe allergic reactions are defined as inflammation and redness around the eyes, on the lips or neck. This is the kind of reaction that Bailey suffered. In a lot of cases, this allergic reaction may resemble hives and is very itchy. Some pets encounter breathing difficulties, may get sick or have a seizure. If it happens that your pet has swallowed the offending insect, the insect may sting your pet internally. This could lead to anaphylactic shock.
It is important to protect our dogs against mosquitoes, and to ensure that they are protected against mosquito born diseases. There are 1000’s of sprays available on the market, but the best widely known brand is ‘K9 Advantix’. This is the only kind that has a multi-purpose. It repels ticks, lice and mosquitoes. Since dogs especially tend to run for the nearest waterhole when they spot one, the makers of ‘K9 Advantix’ developed it so that it is waterproof. Fido can play around in the water all he or she wants and still be protected.
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HERE ARE SOME IDEAS THAT MAY HELP WITH RELIEVING THE STING REACTION
- Place an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the sting to reduce swelling and pain
- Make a paste of water and baking soda and then apply to the affected area several times per day
- Keep your pet away from places where wasps, bees or mosquitoes are predominant. This can be hard to do, especially when you live near or in the rural area.
- If your pet was stung by a bee, remove the stinger using a tweezer or credit card to scrape the skin to prevent venom from entering the wound
- Disinfect the wound to avoid further infection
- Keep a first aid kit on hand so that you are prepared at all times.
- Make a paste of saliva and used cigarette tobacco, and then apply to the affected area several times per day. The nicotine draws on the affected area and relieves it.