Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue

Harlequin Haven
Great Dane Rescue

11567 St. Rt. 774
Bethel, Ohio 45106

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West Nile Virus (WNV)

West Nile is a type of virus that causes encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. The virus has been found in Africa, western Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean region of Europe, and recently in the United States. Mosquitoes become infected with the virus after feeding on infected wild birds and then transmit the virus through bites to people, animals, and birds.

Although there is a published report of WNV isolated from a dog in southern Africa (Botswana) in 1982, the majority of dogs exposed to WNV exhibited no clinical signs. 

Dogs become infected the same way people become infected by infected mosquitoes bites. The virus is maintained in the mosquitos salivary glands. During blood feeding, the virus is injected into the dog. The virus then multiplies and may cause clinical signs in a susceptible animal. Most infections are mild. If your dog shows signs of fever, depression, in-coordination, muscle weakness or spasms, seizures or paralysis, see your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will assess your dog�s condition and give appropriate treatment.

Infected mosquitoes transmit WNV to dog through blood feeding. There is no documented evidence of person-to-person, animal-to-animal, or animal-to-person transmission of WNV. However, people who directly handle sick animals should take precautions such as wearing gloves to protect themselves from contact with saliva from sick animals that may actually have rabies rather than WNV infection.

There is no reason to destroy a dog just because it has been infected with West Nile virus. Full recovery from the infection occurs in most cases. Treatment would be supportive and customized to the presenting clinical signs. A veterinarian should be seen to evaluate any sick dogs condition, to provide treatment and to forward samples for laboratory testing.

You can protect your dogs from WNV infection by reducing their exposure to infected mosquitoes.  To reduce the mosquito population around your home 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 dog use. Your veterinarian can help you decide on the appropriate product to use on your dog depending on species, age, health status, and degree of exposure. Do not use products that contain DEET on dogs.  Use screens on windows and doors.

Mosquito populations can be reduced significantly by eliminating the amount of standing water.  Dispose of bottles, cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property. Do not overlook containers that have become overgrown by vegetation.  Empty standing water from used or discarded tires that may have accumulated on your property. The used tire has become the most important domestic mosquito producer in this country.  Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers and animal feeders that are left out of doors. Drainage holes that are located on the sides will allow enough water to collect for mosquitoes to breed. Clean clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters are easily overlooked and can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.

Turn over plastic wading pools, buckets, pails and feeders when not in use. Turn over wheelbarrows and change water in birdbaths and stock tanks at least twice weekly. Both provide breeding habitat for domestic mosquitoes.  Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family that goes on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes can develop in any puddle that lasts more than 4 days.

All images and text on this site Copyright © 1998-2024 Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue, Inc. unless otherwise credited. Use of any image or text without written permission is expressly forbidden. All rights reserved.

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