It’s chilly out in Tell City, but don’t let the cold weather fool you when it comes to parasite prevention for your pets. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can harbor in your home or garage over the winter and spread deadly diseases year-round. If the temperature rises above 35 degrees, these blood-sucking parasites can pop back up. Here’s why parasite prevention is vital not just in the spring and summer, but in the fall and winter as well.

Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on Earth. While the hefty hippopotamus weighs in as the deadliest mammal, the tiny mosquito takes the cake as the deadliest animal in the world, killing more people than any other creature. Mosquitoes carry yellow fever, malaria, Zika virus, and heartworms, so watch your back around these blood-suckers.

Mosquito eggs are as hardy as flea eggs. When mosquitoes winter in your home or garage, they still lay eggs as they hang out. And, although the eggs may dry out, they can hatch up to eight months later.

Adult fleas account for only 5% of the total flea population in your environment. That’s right—the fleas you see are only about 5% of the population lurking in your home. Eggs make up the largest chunk at 50%, with the pupae and larvae accounting for 10% and 35%, and they all are waiting to hatch out and feast on your pet.

Flea allergy dermatitis accounts for about 50% of all canine and feline skin problems. Itchy skin conditions plague many pets, and fleas are the culprit behind about half those problems. For pets who are hypersensitive to the protein found in flea saliva, a single bite can make them balloon into a red, itchy, inflamed mess.

Ticks can survive for two weeks underwater. Think about all those ticks you flushed down the toilet—unfortunately, they’re merrily swimming away without a care, since they have excellent survival skills. To get rid of a tick, ship it out to the Sahara or fire up your flamethrower. Ticks dehydrate quickly and cannot survive extreme dry heat.

About 900 species of ticks can be found worldwide. That’s about 900 species too many. While most tick species are harmless, a few can severely damage you and your pet. For example, the ghost moose tick can suck a moose—that’s right, a moose—dry.

Greenwood Animal Hospital will be there to make sure these diseases keep their distance from your pet’s life. If you think your pet may be suffering from one of these parasites, please contact us immediately.