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Pesticides also in winter

enero 12, 2021

From a parasitological point of view, the winter period seems to be more «peaceful» for our animals. In reality this is not entirely true. It is true that there are parasites that are detected massively creating problems especially in spring-summer, but unfortunately there are certain conditions that they allow some of them to be present and cause damage throughout the year.

No problem: just follow the medical-veterinary instructions and have small precautions. As expressed by the National Association of Veterinary Doctors (ANMVI), the most important prevention to be carried out is that against internal and external parasites.


Your doctor will recommend one adequate program for pest control and prevention taking into account:

  • age of your friend (the younger and the elderly are among the most «delicate» subjects);
  • lifestyle (if your dog lives indoors or outdoors, if he lives with other animals, perhaps even of other species, or lives alone);
  • physiological state (if you are pregnant, lactating and therefore particular attention must be paid to the possibility of pathogens passing even to puppies);
  • if your four-legged friend travels a lot, or leads a more «sedentary» life.

Prophylaxis is really important, and depending on the epidemiological status of the environment and the state of our friend, the risks and needs can vary greatly. Among the parasites that must be controlled and prevented throughout the year are to be considered:

1. Round and flat intestinal worms: they are intestinal endoparasites (parasites that live inside the host’s body) that have a particular morphology. The most frequent are:

  • the hookworms: round worms, about 1.5 cm long, which live in the intestines of dogs and cats;
  • the trichiurides: round worms, 4 – 7 cm long, with thin ends, frequent in dogs and rare in cats. They live in the last tract of the dog’s intestine;
  • the ascarids: white worms, round, 10 – 20 cm long (they look like spaghetti) and more frequent in puppies. They are characterized by the presence of a thinner end than the central part;
  • the tapeworms: flat worms (such as noodles) and segmented, live in the intestines of dogs and cats, feeding on food material. There are many species of tapeworms.

It is therefore important carry out precise control and protection against these worms and punctual. The progressive diffusion of sanitary measures against these pathogens has made it possible to limit mortality and morbidity especially in puppies, and to reduce this type of pathological affections. Roundworms, for example, are harmful or fatal especially for puppies because in massive infestations they can clog the intestine or even lacerate until the intestinal wall is destroyed, or create lesions to the liver during their migrations and considerable other damage. The control of these parasites will allow us to maintain an optimal state of health of our four-legged friends, and more!

In fact, it is very important to underline that these pathogens can also be a strong danger to human health. In particular Roundworms and hookworms are a real risk for humans and especially for children. Therefore, it will be necessary to follow the veterinary doctor’s instructions based on the specific conditions of your friends and their lives, to be sure to take the «right steps» for effective prevention. It will be fundamental to subject our friend to a stool examination and regular pesticide treatments.

The control of this type of infestations and diseases also passes through our attention to some basic sanitation rules, that your vet will advise you knowing that you are living with a new four-legged friend. Among these the most important are:

2. Ectoparasites of the skin. Infestation by skin parasites usually follows seasonal cycles. In reality though, their presence cannot be excluded even in “less usual” periods.

Let’s talk about fleas, ticks, lice, mites, which constitute a danger throughout the year. The increase in the movements of our pets and the progressive increase in temperature due to climate changes, have increased the risk of infestation in ever more extensive and vast areas, favoring the spread of these parasites and the pathologies they transmit, and making fundamental a protection throughout the year.

Considering fleas, for example, these are mainly «active» during the spring-summer period, but the climatic conditions that they find in homes during the winter months can favor infestations in our animals even in periods of intense cold. Towards them, in fact, constant control and prevention will be essential. We also consider that the specific anti-flea prophylaxis will not only be performed on the animal but also on the environment throughout the year. Only this double combination of action can guarantee a continuous and lasting well-being to dog and cat (and to us too). This need depends on the fact that most of the life cycle of the flea does not take place on the host but in the environment. In fact, fleas are more concentrated in the resting places of our friend, in the kennels, within which they find a protected environment, conditions of relatively high humidity and abundant nourishment consisting of debris. They crawl into the environment, often locating themselves along the edges of carpets where they can find food and shelter from light.

The problems connected to this type of infestation are of the most varied. More or less intense itching may appear with consequent self-trauma injuries induced by intense scratching; a severe flea infestation can result, being these bloodsucking parasites (they feed on blood), iron deficiency anemia, which can be found mainly in young dogs and cats. Following repeated contact, even for several months, an allergy to flea saliva could develop. This pathology, called DAP (flea allergy dermatitis), it is a form of hypersensitivity to the components of the saliva of fleas, released during the blood meal on the animal, and represents one of the most common causes of dermatological pathology in dogs and cats. Leads appearance of itching, redness of the skin, the animal licks, scratches, bites until hair loss. Contacting your doctor in these cases, or in cases of suspicion, is essential.

Tick ​​infestations also follow a seasonal pattern (March – June and August – November), but it is better to consider more ongoing protection of our friends. There are in fact some species that can be present for a longer period of time and could cause damage. The period most at risk has been defined autumn, in which diseases appear due to the too premature suspension of pesticide treatments by the owners. We remember that ticks are also vectors of dangerous pathologies and therefore it is essential not to underestimate their risk.

As regards, then, the mosquitoes that carry the heartworm and the sand flies that transmit the leishmania, the situation is more delicate. It is about parasites that carry very delicate and dangerous pathologies for our friends, and it is therefore essential to ask your doctor for advice on the particular prevention to be adopted against them depending on the living conditions of your friend, geographic location, epidemiological situation and particular physio-pathological characteristics of your animal.

It will be your doctor of choice, therefore, to advise you on annual antiparasitic prophylaxis the best products and moments to perform targeted and careful prophylactic treatments.