LANSING (WWJ) – The Michigan Department of Agriculture has confirmed a case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in an eight-week-old puppy. Officials with the department say this is a serious viral disease spread by mosquitoes that can affect people, horses, and other animals.
In this case, the Van Buren County puppy had a sudden onset of seizures and became thin, weak, and unable to stand — until the owners agreed to have the dog euthanized.
“This is a challenging year for vector borne diseases. Drought conditions and warm weather lead to stagnant pools of water which are breeding grounds for mosquitos,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Steven Halstead, in a statement. “This just shows how important it is to protect dogs, cats, and horses from the illnesses that mosquitoes and other vectors such as fleas, ticks, and biting flies can cause.”
Officials say the precautions necessary to help prevent the spread of EEE are the same as West Nile Virus. They include eliminating standing water by properly discarding old tires, filling ruts and pot holes, and removing water from tarps, pool covers, and other items where it may collect. Also, changing water in bowls, buckets, troughs, bird baths, and wading pools at least once each week, especially during the warmer weeks of late summer.
Additional practices to reduce mosquito exposure include:
· If you are able, keep pets indoors from dusk till dawn, when mosquitoes are out in full force.
· Horses can also be stabled during times when mosquitoes are most active. Placing fans to blow in stalls and on stabled horses will also help keep mosquitoes from lighting and feeding.
· Finally, products are available to repel or kill fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and biting flies from dogs and cats, repellent sprays are available for livestock, and vaccines against EEE and WNV are available for horses.
· Owners should consult a veterinarian on specific products and usage.
For more information on EEE in dogs, visit this link.