Did you know that insect-borne illness in dogs and cats has tripled over the past 13 years?  Climate change worldwide has altered disease patterns and we are seeing more and more new varieties coming into our area. Ticks and mosquitoes are the main culprits in the transmission of serious illnesses to dogs and cats (as well as other companion species and people). Mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease, West Nile virus, and Eastern equine encephalitis. Diseases transmitted by ticks include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis.  It is more important than ever to protect your pets from these disease by getting proper veterinary care and preventative medications.  Even a pet kept mostly indoors, while typically at lower risk, is not safe from infection. For example, statistics show that approximately 25% of cat heartworm disease cases are diagnosed in strictly indoor cats.

Outdoor pets need to be checked daily for any ticks or other external parasites. Take special care to examine pets if you live near or walk in heavily wooded areas. Avoid taking walks during peak hours (mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk). Regular grooming also helps with monitoring your pet for parasites. Use pet formulated repellants only (never those meant for humans) and use only one treatment for your pet (multiple products can make your pet very ill).  And of course, remove sources of breeding, such as standing water, from around your home. Prevention remains the key to avoiding dangerous, often lethal, infections. Remember, our pets depend on us to protect and care for them and give them the best quality of life possible. 

Lastly, the staff of the Humane Society of Otter Tail County would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who donated and bid on items during our recent online auction.  It was a huge success with $4,555 raised for our annual spay/neuter expenses.  We are so very humbled by your generous support.  With cat season in full swing, we are still looking for donations of cat litter.  It’s hard to imagine, but we use roughly 6,500 pounds of kitty litter every year  … that’s 3.2 tons of scooping!  If you haven’t had the opportunity to see our beautiful cat room/suites, we invite you to come visit anytime!  The HSOTC shelter is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.- p.m.  We are located at 1833 W. Fir Ave., Fergus Falls. 


Kristi Lausch is a board member for the Humane Society. of Otter Tail County.

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