Friday, August 24, 2012

Is Your Pet at Risk of West Nile Virus?

Via - A recent West Nile virus update by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that 47 states have reported infections in people, birds and mosquitoes.

The report continues: “The 1,118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999.”

According to the LA Times, Dallas, TX is currently the epicenter of the outbreak and has begun aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes, which can transmit the virus.

While pets can contract West Nile virus (WNV), the CDC states that only a small number of dogs and cats with WNV have been reported. The symptoms are generally confined to a light fever and lethargy. (Learn more about WNV in dogs and cats.)

There is no WNV vaccine for dogs and cats. But here are some tips from the CDC to decrease the chance anyone in your family will contract West Nile:
  • Stay inside (and keep your pets with you) around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are often most active. 
  • Install window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes access to your home. Repair any holes in screens. 
  • Eliminate standing water around your yard where mosquitoes breed. 
  • Do not use human insect repellent on your pets. Pets’ grooming habits make ingestion probable and the repellent could be toxic. Talk to your vet about what insect repellents for pets might be available. 

Remember, mosquitoes transmit WNV. Pets cannot spread the virus to humans and it is unlikely that they can spread it to each other, so that’s one less thing for you to worry about.

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