Although the Zika virus was first isolated in 1947, Google Trends shows that there were virtually no online searches about this topic over the last decade. Then in February of this year, searches for Zika online absolutely exploded when the virus began making headlines. Because it wasn’t something that anyone previously had much knowledge of, most people still have a lot of questions about it.
One of those questions is if dogs can get the Zika virus. The current answer to that question is we don’t know. As of now, there’s no evidence that dogs can contract or transmit the virus. Zika has been detected in non-human primates in Brazil, and has also been purposely given to genetically modified mice to better understand this infection.
Why is Zika So Concerning?
In addition to providing the most recent information about Zika and dogs, another common source of confusion is why Zika is suddenly so concerning. There are two main answers to that question. The first is how rapidly it can spread. Estimates currently point at 1.5 million people in Brazil being infected by the virus.
The second reason there’s so much concern about Zika is the effect it can have on women who are pregnant or get pregnant after being infected. The virus can cause a serious and life-threatening birth defect known as microcephaly. The physical manifestation of this defect is an underdeveloped fetal brain, which can result in severe neurological deformation or death. Over 3,500 cases of microcephaly were reported in Brazil between October 2015 and January 2016.
Protecting Your Dog From Mosquitoes
As of now, Zika isn’t something that needs to concern dog owners in the United States. However, mosquitoes can still be very dangerous to dogs. The reason is they’re the way that heartworms are spread. In fact, mosquitoes are the only way a dog can get this disease. And unlike Zika, this disease has been reported in all 50 states. Ohio specifically has a moderate to high occurrence of heartworm throughout the state.
If a dog gets infected with heartworm, it can be difficult and costly to cure. What’s even scarier is there initially won’t be any symptoms that a dog has heartworm. Over time, a cough will begin due to worms crowding the lungs and heart. Curing heartworm requires multiple injections of an arsenic-based product.
There are a lot of scary elements of heartworm. Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent a dog from getting it. All you need to do is use a monthly pill, monthly topical or a six-month injectable product. We recommend that you speak to your vet about the best prevention option for your specific dog. - Dog Day Every Day