Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mosquitoes!

Mosquitoes are annoying little bug things that fly around and buzz in your ears and bite you!  You can eat a mosquito, but they are so small that you can hardly tell whether you ate it or not.  They are certainly not yummy treats like cicadas, and you would have to eat about a million of them to equal the crunchy yumminess of one cicada!

We get mosquitoes in our house a lot because Mom leaves the door open when we dogs are in the back yard, and the mosquitoes fly right in, just like they were invited in, which they weren't!  Then they buzz around in their irritating way and bite us while we are trying to watch TV or sleep or write a blog.  Mom really hates this and I hate it, too!

Mosquitoes are bad for two reasons.  The first reason is that they make you itch when they bite you, and the second reason is that they can give you diseases when they bite you.  Mosquitoes are good because -- well, I can't really think of any reasons why mosquitoes are good!


What dogs can mostly get from mosquitoes is HEARTWORMS.  Heartworms are very bad to have because they can kill you if you get enough of them.  This is why, if you are a dog, you should make sure that your person gives you heartworm preventive every month.

We always get our heartworm stuff on the 25th day of the month.  I don't know why Mom gives it to us on that day, but she does.  It's sort of like having Christmas every single month because the heartworm preventive tastes really good.  We even get it in the winter because even though it seems like the weather is cold enough to kill off all the mosquitoes, it's still possible that a mosquito might not freeze to death and might come around and bite you even in the wintertime.

Heartworms don't start out as worms.  They start out as little things called larvae.  When the mosquito bites you, it puts some of these larvae in your blood.  Then after several months, the larvae grow into heartworms.  One worm can be as long as 10 inches, which is a very long and icky thing to have inside your heart.  A dog might have heartworms and you couldn't tell it for a few years.  Then eventually the dog might have trouble breathing and might cough and might not like to go for long walks.  If a vet figures out that a dog has heatworms before there are too many of them, the dog can be cured.  This is like what happened to my littermate sister in Houston, who had heartworms but then got treated for them.  It costs a bunch of money for the treatment, though, and it's not much fun for the dog, so it's better to do the prevention thing.

Besides heartworms, mosquitoes can cause people and animals to have a bunch of other diseases.  Here's a list:

1.  Encephalitis
2.  West Nile Virus
3.  Malaria
4.  Dengue Fever
5.  Rift Valley Fever
6.  Eastern Equine Encephalitis
7.  St. Louis Encephalitis
8.  Chikungunya Virus

There are probably more, but this just gives you an idea of how many nasty diseases mosquitoes can be involved with!  Some of these diseases are found more in places like Africa and Asia and South America.  This is why when people travel there, they sometimes have to get a bunch of shots.

West Nile Virus is a disease that you can find in the U.S., even though the Nile is actually located in Egypt.  West Nile Virus makes birds die.  When it first got to Kansas City, a crow died in our neighbors' yard and Mom had to go get it and put it in the trash because the neighbors were old and didn't want to touch the crow.  Now those neighbors are dead and they don't live there anymore.  But they didn't die of West Nile virus, so don't worry.

It is possible for a dog or cat to get West Nile Virus, but it doesn't happen very often.  And even if it does happen, the dog or cat doesn't get very sick.  So if you're a dog or cat, and you are bit by a mosquito, you should mostly worry about heartworms and not about any of those other fancy diseases.  At least that's my advice.

2 comments:

  1. WOW...thanks Piper for the info on mosquitos...or however it's spelled. Please tell your mom I said hello and hope she's feeling better today!!
    Love, AP

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  2. Posted on Facebook, June 2011

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