Mosquito alert: How to protect pets from the deadly West Nile virus?

Taking early precautions to avoid dangerous infections that could harm our pets is the need of the hour according to Elizabeth Davis, professor and section head of equine medicine and surgery at Kansas State University, states taking

“Our weather patterns have been quite abrupt and with the moisture that we’ve had, coupled with the really warm temperatures, mosquitoes are really taking off,” says Davis. The level of Colux mosquitoes—mosquitoes that effectively transmit West Nile virus—is already higher than reports from 2014.

Although West Nile virus does not infect small pets like cats and dogs, mosquitoes can transmit various infectious diseases or parasites that can cause heartworm disease. Vaccines are an option for certain animals, like horses.

“Right now is the ideal time to vaccinate your horse if you have not done so already,” says Davis. “If you vaccinate now, you’re going to have horses that are very well protected through the warm weather which, in this area, is going to extend through early October.”

West Nile symptoms vary in humans and animals— however, the West Nile virus can potentially lead to death in both. Kansas has already seen one human case of West Nile virus. The best way to curtail the spread is to try to reduce the mosquito population. Davis suggests emptying any standing water including old tires, water troughs or bird baths.

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