THE BUZZ ABOUT EEE IN OUR SMALL ANIMAL PATIENTS
If you have tuned into the news - on television or online - recently, you are surely aware of the emerging disease know as Eastern Equine Encephalitis here in Michigan. EEE is caused by a virus and is endemic (i.e. very common) in the Southeastern United States. However, it IS currently under surveillance as an emerging disease here in Michigan - you can learn more on this at michigan.gov.
SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR CAT OR DOG?
In theory, it is possible for both cats and dogs to become infected with the disease. BUT THE RISK IS LOW!!! Similar to symptoms seen in humans, we would expect to see a fever and neurological signs - incoordination, lethargy or even seizures. However, a study on EEE in dogs was undertaken in Georgia from 1993-2005. 101 dogs with symptoms consistent with EEE were tested for the disease. 12 of these were found to have lesions (changes) in the brain consistent with the virus. All of the dogs were puppies less than 6 months of age. What does this tell us? The risk is small for transmission to dogs AND those at risk are most likely our very young or very old pets.
EEE has never been documented in cats.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Our recommendations for preventing EEE in our dogs and cats are similar for those that our human health professionals are suggesting for us!
**** Use repellent: VECTRA 3D is a mosquito repellent for dogs that can be applied once monthly. This is one of our favorite flea and tick preventatives for dogs (It absolutely can NOT be used on cats!) If you are not currently using Vectra for your DOG, we suggest that you start! Always follow the directions on the package.
**** Install and repair screens: Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
**** Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs near you: Mosquitoes can lay eggs even in small amounts of standing water. Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, and tires. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Empty children's wading pools and store on their side after use.
**** Avoid taking your pet outdoors for prolonged periods during times when mosquitoes are most active - from dusk until dawn. Take those longer walks and runs before the mosquitoes emerge for the night!