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From the CDC's Q&A file:

West Nile Virus and Dogs and Cats
Q. Can West Nile virus WNV cause illness in dogs or cats?
A. A relatively small number of WNV infected dogs <40 and only 1 WNV infected cat have been reported to CDC during 2003. Experimentally infected dogs* showed no symptoms after infection with WNV. Some infected cats exhibited mild, nonspecific symptoms during the first week after infection--for the most part only showing a slight fever and slight lethargy.

It is unlikely that most pet owners would notice any unusual symptoms or behavior in cats or dogs that become infected with WNV.

Q. How can my veterinarian treat my cat or dog if they are/may be infected with WNV?
A. There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. Full recovery from the infection is likely. Treatment would be supportive managing symptoms, if present and consistent with standard veterinary practices for animals infected with a viral agent.
Here is a link to an article from 2004

Experimental Infection of Cat and Dogs with West Nile Virus
Domestic dogs and cats were infected by mosquito bite and evaluated as hosts for West Nile virus WNV. Viremia of low magnitude and short duration developed in four dogs but they did not display signs of disease. Four cats became viremic, with peak titers ranging from 103.0 to 104.0 PFU/mL. Three of the cats showed mild, non-neurologic signs of disease. WNV was not isolated from saliva of either dogs or cats during the period of viremia. An additional group of four cats were exposed to WNV orally, through ingestion of infected mice. Two cats consumed an infected mouse on three consecutive days, and two cats ate a single infected mouse. Viremia developed in all of these cats with a magnitude and duration similar to that seen in cats infected by mosquito bite, but none of the four showed clinical signs. These results suggest that dogs and cats are readily infected by WNV. The high efficiency of oral transmission observed with cats suggests that infected prey animals may serve as an important source of infection to carnivores. Neither species is likely to function as an epidemiologically important amplifying host, although the peak viremia observed in cats may be high enough to infect mosquitoes at low efficiency.
Citation: Austgen LE, Bowen RA, Bunning ML, Davis BS, Mitchell CJ, Chang G-JJ. Experimental infection of cats and dogs with West Nile virus. Emerg Infect Dis [serial online] 2004 Jan [date cited]. Available from: URL:
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