West Nile Virus
Barbara J. Andrews
In 2009 we gave readers non-chemical ways to reduce risk of West Nile Virus
or heartworm infection through simple safety and property
25, 2012 - When Fox News raised the alarm today, we decided to bring you this
West Nile Virus info which, fortunately, requires no update. That is not
to downplay the risk, it is very real, as is the risk of heartworm infection in
your dog. Even in the Reno desert!
in (dry) Arizona contracted West Nile Virus in 2003 and studies in 2009 revealed that West
Nile Virus can be transmitted by hosts other than the mosquito and that it
can also infect dogs and cats.
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.
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. It has been
identified in many mammals, from man to sheep to alligators. It is hoped that
humans will gradually develop immunity from exposure to low levels of the virus.
The flooding throughout much of the nation during the first half of 2003 led to
increased risk of exposure and mosquito-transmitted infection. By late 2003, West Nile Virus had been
documented in 44 states with more than 1500 cases of human illness.
Dogs are rarely tested for West Nile virus and therefore may be misdiagnosed.
Canine diagnostic tests are available but expensive so prevention is the key.
premises for even the slightest source of standing water. Potted plants are
a prime breeding ground for heartworm and West Nile infected mosquitoes which
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.
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.
The best precaution against infection is simple: stay inside from dusk
until midnight, periods when
mosquitoes wake up hungry and are most active. Train house dogs to "wait" until
well past dusk, preferably until bedtime. Shut kennel dogs inside for a
few hours because they too will become more active as the day cools. Limiting
food and water during late afternoon hours can help to make bedtime potty trips
a quick trip!
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 preventative medication 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
be prepared and informed.
Learn how to dramatically reduce the incidence of heartworm,
especially from the Asian mosquitoes.