Mosquito-Borne Diseases (West Nile Virus in Dogs and Cats)

Common info

Mosquito is a small insect with its mouth similar to a tiny tube used for blood-sucking and parasites transmitting to any bitten animals. These include dogs and cats, which will be attacked by the mosquito, esp. in the areas covered by thin hair, such as ears and nose. When dogs and cats bit, they will show signs of itching and irritation similarly to those experienced in humans. To make it worse, the mosquito can also spread the severe disease to dogs and cats. The most common disease is the West Nile virus.


History

The West Nile Virus (WNV) was discovered in Uganda in 1937. Later, in 1982, there is a published report of  West Nile Virus (WNV) isolated from a dog in southern Africa (Botswana).

In 1999, The West Nile Virus (WNV) was first detected in North America and occurred in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America. This type of virus can adversely affect humans, birds, and other animals.


Description

West Nile Virus (WNV) is transmitted to dogs and cats by infected mosquitoes, primarily Culex, Aedes, and Ochlerotatus spp. Culex pipiens, the northern house mosquito, is a common household mosquito and the primary vector of West Nile Virus in dogs and cats.

Mosquitoes become infected after biting infected wild birds that serve as the primary host of the virus. The virus undergoes a reproductive cycle inside the mosquito, in which it must pass through the midgut wall, multiply in many tissues, and accumulate in the salivary glands of the mosquito. Mosquitoes salivate every time they bite dogs and cats, and they are capable of transmitting the virus 10 to 14 days after feeding on an infected bird.


Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Incoordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasms
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

Most infections are inapparent or mild. If your dog and cats show signs of fever, depression, incoordination, muscle weakness, spasms, seizures, paralysis, see your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will assess your pet’s condition and give appropriate treatment.


Treatment and Prevention

Treatment of West Nile Virus in dogs and cats would be supportive and customized to the presenting clinical signs. You can protect your animals and birds from WNV infection by reducing their exposure to infected mosquitoes. Reduce the mosquito population around your home and where animals are housed. Minimize the time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Apply products that kill or repel mosquitoes and are approved and labeled for animal use.

  1. Wikipedia | Mosquito (West Nile Virus)
  2. Web.extension | About West Nile Virus
  3. Portal.ct | West-Nile-Virus-In-Domestic-Animals-and-Birds
  4. CDC | West Nile Virus
  5. Kile, J. C., Panella, N. A., Komar, N., Chow, C. C., MacNeil, A., Robbins, B., & Bunning, M. L. (2005). Serologic survey of cats and dogs during an epidemic of West Nile virus infection in humans. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 226(8), 1349–1353.
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