Zika virus is harmful to humans, but is it also dangerous for pets?
Learn how to protect pets from Zika and other mosquito-borne viruses.
The Zika virus has been front and center in medical news recently. The CDC has offered advice on how to protect people against the virus, but very little information is available regarding the threat of Zika virus to pets. Should pet parents worry about dogs and cats contracting the Zika virus, and if so, how can it be prevented?
Zika virus is primarily transmitted by infected mosquitoes. In humans, the disease itself results in mild symptoms of fever, rash, sensitivity to light, pain behind the eyes and in joints, as well as eye inflammation. These symptoms normally pass within two weeks. However, Zika virus has been linked to human birth defects including microcephaly and eye abnormalities. In light of the serious impact Zika virus may have on humans, pet parents may wonder if their pets are also in danger.
According to veterinarian, Dr. Michael Dym, “At this time there is no evidence that dogs or cats can transmit or contract Zika virus, or show any symptoms of illness; however, the studies have really not been done, so the answer has to remain that we don’t know with the current knowledge about the virus.”
While there is no definitive evidence or study showing a direct threat of Zika virus to dogs or cats, mosquito bites can result in other, more life-threatening diseases for pets. Heartworm infection, also spread by mosquitoes, is much more common and harmful for dogs and cats. In fact, there is no safe treatment for cats infected with heartworms, making it a fatal disease. The treatment for dogs infected with heartworms requires a series of harsh injections and frequent veterinary follow-up visits that can result in high medical bills.
The good news is pets can be protected against possible Zika virus infection and heartworm disease at the same time. Treating yards with a product such as Sentry Yard and Premise Spray Concentrate will help kill the mosquito population that surrounds the home. Remove sources of standing water where mosquitoes may breed, such as old tires or buckets in yards. Water bowls for pets that are left outside should be cleaned and refilled with fresh water daily.
Using a product such as K9 Advantix II for dogs protects against mosquitoes, as well as fleas, ticks, biting flies and chewing lice. Bathing your pet with 1-800-PetMeds Be Flea Free Shampoo will also help repel mosquitoes and fleas.
Because there is not yet sufficient scientific evidence regarding how or if Zika virus is harmful to pets, it is best to always protect pets against mosquitoes and the diseases that they carry. To learn more about protecting pets from mosquito-borne illnesses, read the article, “How to Protect Your Pet From Mosquito-Borne Illnesses.”
Founded in 1996, PetMed Express is America’s Largest Pet Pharmacy, delivering prescription and non-prescription pet medications and other health products for dogs and cats at competitive prices direct to the consumer through its 1-800-PetMeds toll free number and on the Internet through its website at http://www.1800petmeds.com.