Can My Pet Get Zika Virus?

It’s summer, which means pesky insects are abundant, making now the best time to learn what’s “bugging” your pet. One of the most widely reported concerns is Zika virus. Zika is spread by mosquitos and is known mostly for causing issues in pregnant women’s fetuses; however, it’s important to know if Zika can harm your pet. Learn what other insect-spread issues are prominent in the summer and how to naturally prevent them.

Can Cats & Dogs Get Zika?

Currently, there is no evidence that animals play a role in spreading Zika virus. According to the CDC, studies show some breeds of animals can become infected with the virus; however, they show no signs of illness and have not shown to be able to transmit the virus to humans. What’s more, “there have not been any reports of pets … becoming sick with Zika virus.”

So, for now, it’s safe to assume that your pet (or their young if they become pregnant) is not vulnerable to Zika; however, mosquitos do carry other viruses (such as West Nile Virus (WNV)) and diseases that can substantially compromise your pets’ health.

What Pest-Transmitted Illnesses are Problems for Pets?

Dogs, it seems, are safe from West Nile Virus. While they can become infected, they show no clinical signs of WNV. Cats, on the other hand, can show mild signs of WNV including: fever, lethargy, and smaller appetite.

Another not-so-common mosquito-transmitted infection pets can get is Lyme disease. Signs of Lyme disease, which are depression, smaller appetite, and lethargy, are relatively similar to those that appear in cats infected with WNV.

The main mosquito-borne illness that is a threat to dogs and cats is Heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is known to have potential lasting effects and can even shorten your cat or dog’s lifespan. Signs of Heartworm disease include:

  • Coughing (both)
  • Swollen belly (both)
  • Poor appetite and weight loss (both)
  • Poor energy / fatigue (dogs)
  • Labored breathing and rapid heart rate (dogs)
  • Pale gums at late stages (dogs)
  • Difficulty walking (cats)
  • Asthma attacks (cats)
  • Fainting (cats)

Year-round treatment is a good way to help prevent your cat or dog from being bitten by an infected mosquito.

How Can I Naturally Protect My Pet from Disease & Infection?

While there are no non-medical heartworm preventative medications, there are natural (chemical-free) options for creating a mosquito-free environment around your home.  A natural approach to repelling mosquitos is preferred by many pet owners because it is a long-term solution for a never-ending problem. Certain oils, herbs, and other solutions have time-honored reputations for being effective in repelling mosquitos (and other insects). These include:

  • Lemon eucalyptus oil, which has been proven to be more effective than the leading chemical-derived mosquito repellent. Look for a pet-safe lemon eucalyptus oil to use around your home.
  • Geranium oil and soybean oil are also effective natural solutions and are available in pet sprays.
  • Citronella oil is most often found in lotions, sprays, and candles. Being near a candle or incense burner lowers the risk of being attacked by a mosquito, but it’s noted that Citronella shouldn’t be the only repellent solution you use.

Any oil or herbal solution you choose to keep your home and yard mosquito-free should be carefully researched. Make sure you have a pet-safe solution of whatever it is you use; after all, your main goal is to naturally keep your pet comfortable, healthy, and safe throughout the summer.

If natural solutions to your pet’s health are a priority, then make sure what you feed them is made with all natural ingredients. Eagle Pack pet food takes pride in making a wide variety of cat and dog foods that are all natural.

husky puppy in Eagle Pack branded sled

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.