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West Nile Virus Information for Pet Owners

Fact Sheet   Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) 50KB

West Nile virus has been found in a variety of animals including dogs and cats. However, most animals do not get sick from the disease.

Can infected pets be carriers and transmitters of WNV to humans?

  • WNV is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
  • There is no documented evidence of animal-to-person transmission of the virus under normal conditions.
  • Veterinarians should take normal infection control precautions when caring for an animal suspected to have this or any other viral infection.

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How do pets become infected with WNV?

  • Pets become infected the same way humans become infected; by the bite of an infected mosquito.

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What are the symptoms in pets?

Any combination of the following:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Changes in temperament or personality

However, there are many other diseases that also cause these symptoms, including rabies . If your pet shows any of these symptoms, see your veterinarian.

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What is the treatment for a pet infected with West Nile virus?

  • There is normally no reason to put down an animal that is infected with WNV.
  • Full recovery from the infection is likely.
  • If you think your pet may be ill, be sure to consult your veterinarian for proper treatment.

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