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Vest Nile Virus in Dogs and Cats

According to the May, 2004 issue of Pet Age, based on a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although dogs and cats can be infected with the West Nile Virus, they usually do not show clinical signs of the disease. It seems as though dogs do not develop enough of the virus to transmit it to mosquitoes, preventing them from being carriers of the disease. Cats, on the other hand, do develop higher levels of the disease in their bloodstream. It is unclear if they would be able to infect mosquitoes.

Although the study indicated that no dogs showed signs of the disease, some of the cats did lose their appetite, were lethargic, and had fevers. Therefore, it is a good idea to check with your veterinarian to determine what method is best to prevent your dog or cat from being bitten by mosquitoes. Do not use repellents designed for humans -they may not be safe for pets. Be sure to watch your pet carefully for signs of excessive scratching. Mosquito bites will cause your pet to itch the same as it does humans.

You should try to avoid taking your pet outside during peak mosquito feeding periods (usually dusk and dawn). Never leave your dog or cat outside all day or all night.


Copyright 2001 Susan Bulanda. All Rights Reserved.