Shasta County vet, officials warn pet owners to take mosquito precautions

From Record Searchlight
April 20, 2018

While pets are at risk for heartworm year-round, cool fluctuating temperatures gave Shasta County a slight reprieve from a primary vector of the disease.

That’s about to end.

In parts of California, including Shasta County, the western treehole mosquito is a primary cause of heartworm in cats and dogs.

“They’re fairly small and like to bite mammals,” said Peter Bonkrude, district manager at Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District (SMVCD) in Anderson. “They’re a day biter which makes them different than most mosquitoes.”

While his team catches mosquitoes throughout the year, Bonkrude said the valley floor usually sees the western treehole emerge en mass from April to May. The western treehole doesn’t transmit human diseases as far as scientists are aware, but pets are a serious concern for his district.

“Unfortunately, heartworm is prevalent in our area,” said Leanna Niemann, office manager at Haven Humane Society. “Northern California has a pocket of a high number of cases per clinic. We’re a great environment for the mosquitoes….”

Read more