First parasites of spring – fly-bites, mosquitoes and ticks.

Suddenly, it’s warm.  Too bad I wrecked my motorcycle.  Even worse, the insects seem to have burgeoned almost instantaneously this spring.  It’s made a week of firsts.

Heartworms_2 This wad of heartworms was removed from a Beagle who was only two years old  and dying because of them, sad to say.  Most dogs, even with no heartworm prevention at all (like this dog) would make it three or four years.  We just have so many mosquitoes here (which is how you get them), and they are coming out already.

Ear_flybites_2 Here we have the first case of fly-bite dermatitis this year.  Flys don’t have the needle-like proboscis of the mosquito. When they bite, it’s more like a knife and a sponge.  They make a little cut, then sop up the blood that runs out.  Get a few hundred tiny cuts, and you’ve got a big sore on the dog’s ear.  On a floppy-eared dog, it will be the base of the ear like this guy.  If the ear is erect (like a German Shepherd or Chow), the tips of the ears will be the damaged area.  You need to put a first-aid cream with local anesthetic (like Neosporin Pain Relief, or a generic equivalent) on the spots, then cover with insect repellent, like VIP ointment.  Don’t put the insecticide in the sore places – it burns and they won’t leave it on.

Tick_one_2 And here’s the first fully engorged tick of Spring.  She looks a little wrinkled here, because I killed her with insecticide spray after I removed her from her dog.  I guess I should’t be so surprised, but gosh, it seems early to have this kind of problem already.  These bugs are not as pretty as the first flowers of spring, which are blooming everywhere around southeast Missouri now.

So, it’s not too soon to crank up your Frontline, put your VIP ointment on the ears, and keep that heartworm preventive going (like you should have been year-round).

5 thoughts on “First parasites of spring – fly-bites, mosquitoes and ticks.

  1. Doc says:

    Hello, Mike,

    You need to keep a fly-repellent on the ears to prevent further wounding by the insects. I like VIP ointment.

    Any type of fly repellent will burn these raw areas and the dog won’t leave it on. SO, before you apply the insect repellent, you must first treat the ear with something that will soothe and protect it. Buy a triple-antibiotic ointment with PRAMOXINE added. This would be something like “triple antibiotic PLUS” or “Neosporin Pain Relief”. Apply this to the affected area. This will numb it and provide a barrier between the damaged tissue and the insect repellent. Then apply the insect repellent.

    If the ear is pretty sore, you may have to repeat this two or three times daily. Sometimes you just have to bring the dog inside for several days.

    Good luck, and thanks for reading and writing.

  2. Debbie Black says:

    Thanks for the info on fly bite dermatitis.

    My dad, who has raised many dogs over the years, advised us to use Noxema on the ears. Flies hate it, and it helps heal and soothe. That worked very well last year but not this summer.

    We found success with Neosporin if damage on ears and Skin So Soft over or the Avon product as a preemptive strike works well. If needed, I typically apply the Neosporin 3 to 4 x daily.

    I also use a dog safe fly repellant and often kill the flies in one strike. I’ll look for and try the VIP ointment.

    Our vet said we do a good job since our dog has the tips of ears.

  3. Debbie says:

    My question is regarding using two different flea/tick preventatives at the same time. I have found that K9 Advantix works real well for repelling ticks while not so much the fleas. And Frontline works real well repelling the fleas, but not the ticks. I really don’t like the idea of loading my dogs up with chemicals, but I also know that they are totally miserable by all of the scratching they do. We live out in the country and they have run of the 100 acres. It seems like fighting both the fleas and the ticks is a never ending battle. I would appreciate any advice you can give.

  4. Doc says:

    Hello, Debbie,

    The flea-control part of K-9 Advantix is imidocloprid, which is the same as in plain Advantage. It washes off. One bath takes half, the second bath takes the rest. So if you have a lot of bathing, that might explain it.

    The tick control part of K-9 Advantix is Permethrin, which is more durable.

    Frontline contains fipronil. I’ve had several clients complain that it isn’t doing the job on fleas that it used to. It’s sure been good for a long time, but maybe not in the future.

    We are presently trying Vectra 3-D. This has permethrin for ticks, but a different flea-control part. We’re still evaluating.

    Comfortis is a once-monthly pill which has been really great for flea control. They take one bite and it’s their last. No good for ticks, though.

    I still like the Preventic Collar if you’re in a super-bad tick area. It contains Amitraz. There’s a new collar coming out that’s supposed to be better, but no track record yet.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

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