Spring has arrived and, along with the welcomed warmer temperatures, comes the not-so-welcome pesky insects.
This includes mosquitoes that can transmit disease to humans and pets.
The Zika virus, transmitted through mosquitoes, has been in the news lately as a health concern for humans causing fever and joint pain and, of most concern for pregnant women, serious birth defects in infants.
Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). Currently, evidence shows that only humans and primates can contract the Zika virus. There is no evidence that dogs and other pets can contract the disease; the research has not been done.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the following regarding animals and the virus:
- At this time, animals do not appear to be involved in the spread of Zika virus.
- There is no evidence that Zika virus is spread to people from contact with animals.
- There have not been any reports of pets or other types of animals becoming sick with Zika virus. However, more research is needed to better understand Zika virus in animals.
- Animals in the United States are not at risk of becoming sick with Zika virus.
The most concerning disease transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes is heartworm disease, which can be prevented by giving monthly preventative medications.
Taking precautions to prevent mosquitoes near your kennel and home is a good idea. Mosquitoes need standing water to produce so survey your property for any place that holds water and eliminate these sources. Change the water in bird baths, wading pools, etc. at least once a week.
Keep pets indoors during peak mosquito hours, which are dawn and dusk. Reduce light at night since light tends to attract mosquitoes.