Worried about your pet patients being exposed to mosquito-borne diseases and illnesses? Don’t fret: The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has released its first ever mosquito-control guidelines. Issued in mid-April 2017, the guidelines focus on the treatment, control and prevention of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne issues.
The guidelines recommend an “Integrated Pest Management (IPM)” strategy. According to the guidelines, the “IPM employs the use of EPA-registered repellents/insecticides on the pet and humans, minimizing exposure, and altering the environment to discourage mosquito growth development.”
Repelling and killing the mosquito, should be a part of this strategy to protect canines. “There are several products available for use on dogs to repel and kill mosquitoes for an entire month,” the guidelines continue. “Several of these products are labeled to control other ectoparasites as well. Recent research indicates that treatment of dogs with a combination of dinotefuran, permethrin and pyriproxyfen [Ceva’s Vectra 3D] inhibits uptake of heartworm microfilariae from infected dogs and prevents transmission of heartworm infective larvae from infected mosquitoes to non-infected dogs.”
CAPC cites research conducted by John McCall, MS, PhD, a professor emeritus in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. In two phases of the study, Dr. McCall showed the value of topical repellent insecticidal products in a “double defense” protocol for protecting dogs against the vector — the mosquito — and use of a preventive against heartworm disease. His research found that Vectra adds an extra layer of protection along with the heartworm preventive.
Dr. McCall’s research validates the “double defense” approach in protecting and preventing heartworm disease from the outside and the inside, said Byron Blagburn, MS, PhD, DAVCM, researcher and author of the mosquito-control guidelines.
“Science demands that we shouldn’t presume anything until we prove it. This research makes it legitimate that mosquito control is important. I would venture to say that there’s not an example of more relevant research in the last five years,” Dr. Blagburn said.
Blagburn added that the guidelines emphasize using both a topical repellent with a macrocyclic lactone preventive since there’s no area immune from parasites. “First, there is no state that is free of heartworm disease or lacks capable and supportive vectors. Therefore, the argument that double defense has no place in certain areas is invalid.”
The veterinary community’s main focus on killing the disease after it already has occurred, said Craig Prior, BVSC, CVJ, president of CAPC and previous owner and medical director of VCA Murphy Road Animal Hospital, an eight-doctor practice in Nashville, Tenn. “If we can go after the mosquito as well, we can be more effective.”
The new Mosquito Control Guidelines come on the heels of the Council’s update to its Control and Prevention section of its Canine Heartworm Guidelines last October. CAPC included the statement that “limiting contact with mosquitoes further reduces risk of heartworm infection.” In addition, CAPC cites although the “slow-kill” method should be avoided, if it is the only medically acceptable option, microfilariae should be eliminated prior to the exposure to preventive doses of macrocyclic lactones and dogs should be maintained on a mosquito repellent.