Heartworms & Other Parasites

Mosquitoes: First Heartworm, Now Zika - What This Means for Your Pet

The Zika Virus & Your Pet

Mosquitoes are present across 49 states in the United States. In 2016, a new virus, Zika, was discovered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitos.

What About Dogs & Cats?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "There have not been any reports of pets or other types of animals becoming sick with the Zika virus." Additionally, there is no evidence that contact with an animal bitten by a Zika-carrying mosquito will spread the virus to a human or other animal. However, since studies haven't been done yet, future scientific research can help veterinarians better understand Zika and give pet parents greater assurance that their dogs and cats will not be vulnerable to the virus.

Danger of Mosquito Bites

A mosquito bite can affect pets in other ways. In dogs and cats, heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes nationwide.

A veterinarian can test for heartworm using a blood test during a routine visit. They may advise starting your dog on a year-round preventative such as Tri-Heart Plus® monthly chewable tablets.

Pets can be as vulnerable to the annoyance of ordinary mosquito bites as people are. The insects usually zone in on the ears or nose, where the pet has less fur.

Protect Yourself and Your Pets Against Mosquito Bites

Minimize the likelihood of mosquito bites by keeping your pet indoors in the early morning and early evening when mosquitoes are most active. Also, take preventative measures to eliminate the insects' breeding areas and:

  • Change your pet's water often
  • Remove stagnant water near the house and yard including inside flower pots, bowls and buckets
  • Keep your pet away from marshy places
  • Make sure window screens and screen doors are in good condition
  • Ensure your dog is protected from heartworm. See your vet for more information.