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Recent news and Legislation of interest to the dog world

Feb 15, 2016


From Dr. Jean Dodds' Pet Health Resource Blog

Zika Virus, Dengue Fever and Chikungunya Virus are spread by a specific mosquito species, the Aedes. As small as they are and as odd as it sounds, mosquitos are attracted to their hosts. Predominantly, the Aedes species aims for humans but has also been known to bite dogs and sometimes cats. We know that dogs and cats can ostensibly contract these viruses but as it appears they do not replicate and infect their bodies, these animals remain asymptomatic. We also do not know if a companion pet carrier of these viruses can spread them to humans.

What we do know is that heartworm preventatives will not stop Zika Virus, Dengue Fever, and Chikungunya Virus, which is not surprising as heartworm disease is caused by a filarial parasite, and not a virus. In essence, heartworm preventatives are not like vaccines but rather stop the growth cycle of the immature filarial worms. To date, no human vaccines have been developed to combat these three viruses.

Until we know more, I suggest adding an all-natural bug repellent to your household and using heartworm preventatives during mosquito months, if you live in heartworm risk areas. I would not use products that contain DEET on or environmentally around dogs or cats. If you choose to use it on your skin, make sure your companion pets do not lick you or touch the area until you have washed it off.

W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Hemopet / NutriScan
11561 Salinaz Avenue Garden Grove, CA 92843