The big news in preventing mosquito-borne diseases in dogs, cats, and humans continues to be what’s known as vector control. In other words, instead of focusing exclusively on preventing or treating the diseases, we need to incorporate a robust prevention of the mosquitoes. Which, considering most people hate them and their itching, burning bites even in the absence of canine and feline heartworm, Zika, West Nile Virus, and other ills the pesky insects carry with them, is an appealing concept.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has for the first time issued guidelines for mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. They’re comprehensive and well-worth a read, but the section on prevention includes this information:
There are several products available for use on dogs to repel and kill mosquitoes for an entire month. Products contain permethrin at relatively high concentrations (e.g. Effitix® [44.88%; Virbac], K9 Advantix® II [44%; Bayer], Vectra 3D® [36.08%; Ceva]; Activyl Tick Plus [42.5%; Merck]). Several of these products are labeled to control other ectoparasites as well. Recent research indicates that treatment of dogs with a combination of dinotefuran, permethrin and pyriproxyfen (Vectra 3D®) inhibits uptake of heartworm microfilariae from infected dogs and prevents transmission of heartworm infective larvae from infected mosquitoes to non-infected dogs. These spot-on products are not labeled for use in cats, nor should they be used in cats. Long-lasting permethrin-impregnated clothing and bedding is also available for dogs (not cats) to repel mosquitoes. Mosquito control products approved for use on dogs should not be used on humans. A complete list of available ectoparasiticidal products is available at capcvet.org.
Currently there are no mosquito control products with monthly residual activity approved for use in cats. There are some short-acting, over-the-counter products available for mosquito repellency. Only use products that are approved for use in cats. Keeping cats indoors will minimize exposure to mosquitoes.
]As we head into what’s predicted to be a truly terrible mosquito season, it’s critical that all pet owners and my fellow veterinarians familiarize themselves with the information in these guidelines.
Also of interest: My interview from last year with Dr. John McCall, MS, PhD, professor emeritus in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, about Vectra and the studies used to develop it.
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