West Nile Virus

Dogs & Cats are Not at Risk


Do I need to protect my dogs from the West Nile virus?


Dr. Nichol:

This spreading infection is nerve wracking for horses, birds, and humans, but our dogs and cats are way out of the loop.

For the latest and greatest on West Nile, I contacted state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Ettestad in Santa Fe. The good doctor pointed out that with carrier mosquitoes spreading this infection as far west as Texas and Colorado, our state is likely to be next. Testing is currently being done on mosquitoes, horses, and large birds like ravens, crows, and jays. There have been only a handful of dogs with antibodies to the virus; no confirmed cases. A few rare cats may have had illness due to West Nile virus.


The good news is that our dogs and cats aren’t at risk. The bad news is that humans and horses will need to avoid mosquitoes. Use repellant; get rid of standing water, and stay inside when mosquitoes come calling.