According to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus does not appear to
cause extensive illness in dogs or cats.
There is no documented
evidence of person-to-person or animal-to-person transmission of West
Nile virus. Because West Nile virus is transmitted by infectious mosquitoes,
dogs or cats could be exposed to the virus in the same way humans become
infected. Veterinarians should take normal infection control precautions
when caring for an animal suspected to have this or any viral infection.
It is possible that dogs and cats could become infected by eating dead
infected animals such as birds, but this is undocumented.
There is a single
published report of West Nile virus isolated from a dog in southern Africa
(Botswana) in 1982. West Nile virus was isolated from a single dead cat
in 1999. A serosurvey in New York City of dogs in the 1999 epidemic area
indicated that dogs are frequently infected. Nonetheless, disease from
West Nile virus infection in dogs has yet to be documented.
There is no reason
to destroy an animal just because it has been infected with West Nile
virus. Full recovery from the infection is likely. Treatment would be
supportive and consistent with standard veterinary practices for animals
infected with a viral agent.
Concerned pet owners
should consult with their veterinarian if their pets are exhibiting any
Link for Dogs and Cats
and Answers (CDC)
Nile Information Pages (Colo.)
• Colorado Veterinary
• American Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Topic List
a home and garden checklist
a personal protection tip sheet
more information call the toll-free
Colorado West Nile Virus HelpLine
1- 877- 462-2911
Open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
CDC West Nile Virus InfoLines
Hearing-impaired TDD: 1-866-874-2646
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