In my little world, there are a ton of major things going on at once. Some good, some bad, but a definite shift in the everyday routine to be sure. So my little blog has been getting neglected.
The change I'll address in this post is that we are definitely heading toward warmer weather. I know some of my blogging buds saw snow over the Memorial Day weekend, but still we are heading toward some definition of summer, and that means a mass influx of bugs, especially if you're in an area that had a particularly wet winter and spring without much frost. Yes, it's flea/tick/mosquito/fly season for sure!
After a frantic phone call from a friend on Friday night, who came home from work to find her horse warm and weak on the back end (my first thought is West Nile, the vet she finally found to come out over the holiday thinks so too, blood work not back yet), I made a point to give my horses their West Nile Vaccines.
While following recommended vaccine practice is a good thing, it is a bad idea to depend on vaccines alone for disease prevention. Prevention should always be proactive.
For horses, a fly mask is a necessity in some areas. Some people use fly sheets. It depends on your area and preference, but some effort must be made to give them some relief from bugs, whether it be a fan, sheet, or fly sprays. Manure should be removed and managed to keep the fly breeding down.
Standing pools of water are mosquito breeding grounds. Some horse owners with very large ponds or stock tanks that can't be drained and scrubbed get those mosquito larvae eating fish to take care of the problem. I let my horses drink down the water in their barrels and once a week they are dumped and scrubbed out then refilled. I do the same with the dog's water buckets. If you have water barrels that can't be dumped, or standing pools of water on your property, add some vinegar or a small amount of cooking oil to it. The mosquitoes can't breed in it, and it won't hurt if a pet drinks from it.
Every summer season we see at least one dog or cat that is so flea infested it is anemic from the bloodsucking critters. It is especially important during the season to check them on a regular basis. If you find them on one, it's important to treat every pet you have, and also the premises. Spray the yard with a spray designed for fleas and follow the directions. Treating the house should include not only the pet's bedding, but everything carpeted and upholstery as well. Vacuum the treated areas daily for a week. Important: After an indoor flea treatment, you must replace the vacuum bag, or in the case of a bagless vacuum, dump the cup immediately. You're sucking up flea eggs, which can hatch in the bag or cup, and they will be redeposited through the exhaust if you don't get rid of them the first time. Then you'll have to do it all over.
I'm not going to recommend certain products, other than to recommend staying far far away from Hartz. It is very important to read labels and dose correctly when choosing products. Keeping the insect population as far away as possible from our pets is part of our responsibility as pet owners. I'm hoping your summer is fun and bug free!