Mosquitoes are vectors for several diseases that can adversely affect canine health. Among these, the most common and significant threats include heartworms and the West Nile Virus.
Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a severe and potentially fatal disease in dogs, caused by parasitic worms that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels. Mosquitoes become infected with heartworm larvae when they feed on the blood of an infected animal. When the mosquito bites another dog, it transmits the larvae, which mature into adult heartworms over several months. Heartworms can cause irreversible damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs, leading to heart failure and death if left untreated.
B. West Nile Virus
While West Nile virus primarily affects birds, it can also infect mammals, including dogs. Mosquitoes transmit the virus by feeding on infected birds and then biting dogs or other animals. Most dogs infected with West Nile virus do not show any symptoms, but in rare cases, they may develop fever, lethargy, and neurological signs like seizures and paralysis.