West Nile Virus Is Back
Barbara J. Andrews,
Publisher, Update December 2013
Non-chemical ways to reduce risk of West Nile Virus
and heartworm infection through simple safety and property
West Nile Virus first made veterinary news when a cat in New Jersey was found infected in 1999. Upon
the initial discovery, dogs were tested as part of a Queens, NY
study and a significant number tested positive for exposure to West Nile virus.
Flooding throughout much of the nation during the first half of 2003 led to
increased risk of exposure and mosquito-transmitted infection.
Horses in (dry) Arizona contracted West Nile Virus in 2003 and by late 2003, West Nile had been
documented in 44 states with more than 1500 cases of human illness.
After an extremely wet 2013, health authorities are concerned that southern
states may suffer a similar effect.
TV news raised the alarm again we decided to bring you this
West Nile Virus info again. The risk is very real, as is the risk of heartworm infection in
your dog - even in the Reno desert!
Once thought to only be mosquito-borne, we now know that birds can spread West
Nile virus, acting as an infectious source for other animals. The virus has been
identified in many mammals, from man to sheep to alligators. It is hoped that
humans will gradually develop West Nile immunity from exposure to low levels of the virus.
Dogs are rarely tested for West Nile virus and therefore may be misdiagnosed.
Canine diagnostic tests are available but they are expensive so prevention is the key.
Control: Check the
premises for even the slightest source of standing water. Potted plants are
a prime breeding ground for heartworm and West Nile infected mosquitoes hatch in only a few drops of water. If you have a water
feature, be sure you have hungry fish that will gobble up mosquito larvae.
Encourage Purple Martins, bluebirds and even bats to spend the
summer at your house.
Use Mosquito Spray: Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing – or hair coat. DEET spray is quite
effective in concentrations of 35% and is best applied to light colored clothing
or lightly sprayed over your dog when taking him out for last potty trip.
you live in an area with a serious mosquito problem, only let your dogs (and
yourself) outside for a short period, after spraying with DEET. Shielding his eyes,
lightly spray his topside and get back inside a soon as possible. Devise a light
gauze or muslin drape to loosely fasten on your house dog for that quick bedtime
walk. Be aware that disease carrying mosquitoes will eagerly feed on your
short-coated dog and even long thick coats don’t protect eye and muzzle areas.
Prevention Against West Nile or
Heartworm Mosquito Infection: The best precaution is simple: stay inside from dusk
until midnight during mosquito season. That's when they wake up hungry and are most active. Train house dogs to "wait" until
well past dusk, preferably until bedtime. Shut kennel dogs inside during
early evening as they otherwise become more active as the day cools. Limiting
food and water during late afternoon can help to make bedtime potty trips quick.
Heartworm and West Nile Virus are spread by mosquitoes which are now nationwide.
Both threats are not to be taken lightly and these simple precautions will
reduce risk for you
and your dogs, horses, and cats.
There is no vaccine for West Nile Virus.
Heartworm prevention medications risk your dog's immune
system and overall health. Prevention through property protection is the
Newscasters also raised concerns with
reports of the Asian Tiger Mosquito. We covered that
species and its relationship to
Mosquitoes/Heartworm - be prepared and informed.
Learn how to dramatically reduce the incidence of heartworm mosquito
Back to PARASITE Index
or see related article:
Heartworm Mosquitoes risk of infection vs. prevention
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* None of the statements contained herein as regards human or animal health have been evaluated by the FDA. Information is provided for educational purposes only. We are required to advise you to always check with a licensed veterinarian or medical doctor. Information or products offered are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness, disease, or condition, whether animal or human. This disclaimer is due to FDA restrictions designed to protect you, the consumer. It does NOT protect you from vaccines or prescription drugs.