West Nile Virus, or WMV can infect pets, however infection rates in epidemic areas are low and does not cause severe illness. Old, Young and pets with immune system problems are at a higher risk for contracting the West Nile Virus.
Contraction of the West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus in canine and other types of pets are contracted in the same way humans contract the virus, an infectious bite by a mosquito. It is also possible that your pet can become infected by eating a dead infected animal such as birds or squirrels, but this has not been proven yet.
Protecting Your Pet
You can protect your pet by keeping pets indoors during peak mosquito hours like Dawn, Dusk, and early evening. Eliminate all standing water around your home. If you have landscaping, make sure there is adequate drainage everywhere. Water lasting for more than 4 days can put you at potential risk. Use sand to help drain water easier in soil. Drill holes at the bottom of containers, and clean gutters annually. Contact your local veterinarian if your pet exhibits neurological signs such as incoordination, abnormal head posture, depression, circling, decreased appetite, convulsions, or difficulty walking. Use only approved mosquito repellent for your pet. Read the label to make sure it is approved for pets. Do not use human mosquito repellent that is not approved for pets.
Repellents for Horses
Repellents for Dogs or Cats
Pet-Guard Insecticide Gel with Sunscreen
Mosquito Halt for Dogs Aerosol
DEET On Pets
Do not use DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) on pets. This should be avoided. DEET has been associated with adverse effects when used on dogs and cats. Citrus oil extracts and other essential oils are not recommended since most canines and felines have extreme sensitivities to these ingredients.
Animal and Human Virus Transmission
There is no current evidence of transmission of the westnile virus from animals to humans, humans to animals, or animals to animals. There is no need to destroy an animal if it is infected with the West Nile Virus.
West Nile Virus Vaccine
There currently is no vaccine to treat dogs and cats for West Nile Virus. There is only a vaccine available for horses called Recombitek West Nile Vaccine by Merial. This product is for equine use only.