Okaw Veterinary Clinic

140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953

(217)253-3221

www.okawvetclinic.com

West Nile Virus in Pets

 

 

dog and catWest Nile Virus is here again in Illinois. People, birds, horses and other animals can get sick with West Nile Virus. Here is some information about West Nile and how to keep your pet safe.

Can my dog or cat get sick with West Nile Virus? Yes, dogs and cats can get West Nile. However, it is very rare for dogs or cats to become sick with West Nile. Older, younger and pets with poor immune systems are more likely to become sick. Horses are more susceptible to the virus than dogs and cats.

How do pets get West Nile? West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes. A mosquito bites an infected bird and drinks that bird's blood. The mosquito can now carry the virus and spread it to other animals and people when the mosquito bites.

What are the symptoms of West Nile? Symptoms of West Nile include trouble walking, muscle weakness, shaking, circling and seizures. Call us if your pet has any of these symptoms.

Can my pet be treated? Yes, your pet's body must fight off the infection. We focus on treating the symptoms the pet is showing.

Can I get West Nile from my pet? No. There is no evidence that dogs or cats can give West Nile to humans.

How can I protect my pet from West Nile?

  • Keep your yard free of standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in pools of water.
  • Remove any dead wildlife from your yard as soon as you find it. Wear gloves when handling the dead animal and wash the gloves and your hands afterwards.
  • Let your pet outside for short amounts of time.
  • Make a spray to help repel mosquitoes. Mix 1 tablespoon of Avon Skin So Soft in 1 pint of water in a spritzer bottle. Spray on your pet before he or she goes outside.

Is there a vaccine? No. There is no vaccine for dogs and cats. There is a vaccine for horses.

What if I find a dead bird in my yard? Wear gloves to pick up the dead bird. Dispose of the bird. Wash your hands and gloves after touching the bird. If you would like to see if the bird has died from West Nile, you can take the bird to the Douglas County Health Department. The bird must have died recently and appear to have died from natural causes (not in the road or killed by an animal). You can contact the Health Dept for any questions about bringing in a bird. Their phone number is 253-4137.

For more information about West Nile in Pets and in Horses, check out this article.