How Chikungunya Affects Pets Like Cats And Dogs?
Chikungunya is a viral infection in humans that is caused by the Chikungunya virus. This virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female Aedes mosquito – the same mosquito that carries the Dengue virus.
When it comes to diseases like Chikungunya, it is not just human beings who need to be careful. Monkeys and other wild animals are thought to be the reservoirs of these mosquitoes. Though, as of now, animals like cats and dogs do not appear to be affected by the Chikungunya virus.
Currently, human beings are known to be the major source of Chikungunya virus for the mosquitoes. Also, there has not been any evidence that the virus can be transmitted from animals to human beings. Until now, there have not been any reports of pets like cats and dogs being attacked by the Chikungunya virus. Further research is awaited. But, to be on the safer side and to maintain health and hygiene, you should take necessary precautions with your pets too.
1. Consider it important to protect your pets from mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes tend to transmit harmful diseases such as Heartworm disease and West Nile Virus from one pet to another. The symptoms for these include coughing, vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, difficulty in breathing, collapse, convulsions and even blindness.
These diseases, if not treated in time, will end up being fatal to your pets. DEET, which is generally used as a mosquito repellent, can cause neurological signs in pets such as seizures and therefore, is not recommended. To keep your pets away from mosquitoes, you need to keep your house and surroundings clean.
2. Do not take your pets to crowded places.
As the effect of the Chikungunya virus on cats and dogs is still unknown, it is advised to keep them away from crowded places. Do not take your dogs for a walk to places where there is standing water or the places that are not clean. Inside your premises, regularly clean out their water bowls, pots, water tanks and keep the gardens (where your pets play) clean too. Do not let water stand anywhere inside or around your premises.
3. Should pet owners be worried?
As of now, the Chikungunya virus, the Dengue virus and the Zika virus are known to target human beings only. People living in the countries that are not attacked by the Aedes mosquito need not worry at all. For people living in the countries where the Chikungunya virus is spreading, you need to take good care of yourselves first. The virus attacking your pet should not be a major concern as no such reports have been listed. However, taking precautions and maintaining hygiene doesn’t hurt anybody. So, just do the bare minimum for your pet to keep them away from infections too.
We all know that mosquitoes are vectors for diseases and infections. Therefore, taking the necessary steps is important, no matter if it is for your own health or your pet’s. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.
My Pet is Extremely Hairy, Do I need to worry?
If your pet has a very heavy coat like a lhasa also or a shitzu, the chances are close to none, but if you get your pets haircut when his coat is shorter you might need to worry and take the preventive steps as well. A heavy long coat acts like a barrier against the mosquitos to find and enter, their paws don’t get bitten and their skin is safeguarded, hence safeguarding them in-turn.