LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Mosquito activity across the Las Vegas valley spiked during fall monsoons. As a result, a local animal hospital is warning pet owners of the health dangers of a new variant of mosquitos in the valley.
The particular mosquito is the Aedes aegypti, which is mostly active during the day and is attracted to standing water.
Dr. Christpher Yach, the hospital director at West Flamingo Animal Hospital, recommends heartworm disease testing six months after possible exposure.
“If there is a pet who has come from elsewhere with heartworm, and with more mosquitos, it will be more likely that disease spreads,” Dr. Yach said.
The Southern Nevada Health District discovered the Aedes aegypti species in 2017 and traced the mosquitos to California, Arizona, and Mexico.
The American Heartworm Society also reported more disease cases and new hotspots.
The rising concern has pet owners like Carol Kutz considering heartworm testing for her furry friends, Marley and Bitsy.
“I think I will now that I have heard it especially since I have been to Arizona and California,” Kutz said. “I am pretty religious about getting them their shots when they need them.”
Vets explained heartworms don’t travel from dog to dog directly. If a mosquito bites an infected dog, it could take the disease to another and infect it.
“August and September, we had that late rain. Any time is a good time if you have been to a heartworm area before, but if we are talking about August, 6 months from then, February would be a good time to get a simple test,” Dr. Yach said.
He said prevention depends on an individual’s lifestyle and environment, so consult your vet.
Teri Wissinger is a licensed veterinary technician who moved to Las Vegas from Washington. Wissinger had put their dog, Archie, on heartworm prevention before.
“Definitely recommend heartworm prevention if they go to dog parks, camping, hiking, anywhere they are going to be exposed,” Wissinger said.
The Southern Nevada Health District encourages the public to report increased mosquito activity.
You can call its mosquito surveillance program at 702-759-1633.