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SPCA of Texas urges pet owners to take extra precautions during aerial spraying; Explains how West Nile Virus affects pets

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DALLAS - The SPCA of Texas urges pet owners in North Texas to take extra precautions to ensure their pets’ safety as aerial spraying of pesticides takes place in Dallas county and at least 10 North Dallas suburbs over the coming days. 

The organization also seeks to educate pet owners on how West Nile virus affects pets of all sizes.

According to the Texas Poison Center Network, the active chemical in the aerial spray was formulated to eradicate mosquitoes, and is low in toxicity to mammals. 

To ensure that pets stay safe and sound, the SPCA of Texas strongly recommends that pet owners bring their pets, especially dogs and cats, inside and keep all windows and doors tightly closed during the spraying. 

It is important to cover all outdoor, small ornamental fish ponds as well.

Larger pets and mammals such as horses and other livestock are not at a great risk to develop side effects from the spray. The SPCA of Texas does recommend bringing horses and other livestock inside a covered barn or stable during the spraying period, ensuring that younger or elderly livestock receive first priority.  

As in humans, West Nile virus can be transmitted to animals through a mosquito bite, though animals cannot transmit West Nile virus to any other animal or human through interaction.

The precaution of spraying to eradicate mosquitos is one way to prevent the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. 

People can also eliminate standing water on their property and use mosquito repellent products. 

It is important that pet owners consult their veterinarian to determine the most suitable mosquito repellent that is safe for pets, as some repellents are toxic to dogs, cats and other small mammals.

In dogs and cats, the symptoms of West Nile virus are temporary, not life threatening and a full recovery is typically expected.  

It is not common for dogs and cats to become infected with West Nile virus and it is unlikely that dog or cat owners would notice any symptoms in infected pets. 

Known side effects of West Nile virus in dogs and cats are increased body temperature and lethargy.

Cats are at a greater risk of infection than dogs, but infected dogs and cats generally have mild symptoms. 

At this time, there is no preventive vaccine for dogs and cats to protect against West Nile virus.

Heartworm disease, which is an infestation of parasites in the heart and lungs of mainly dogs and cats, is a much greater threat to dogs’ and cats’ health than West Nile virus. 

As always, the SPCA of Texas recommends that dog and cat owners give their pets heartworm preventive to keep their pets from contracting this deadly disease, also borne by mosquitos.

West Nile virus is much more dangerous for equines, though there is a vaccine that can protect equines from the illness. 

The SPCA of Texas urges pet owners to protect their horses by getting them vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian. 

West Nile virus is not common in other livestock animals or fowl, however there have been confirmed cases of West Nile virus in horses in 48 states, including Texas.

Side effects infected horses exhibit can range from mild, flu-like symptoms to encephalitis, which means an inflammation of the brain and the virus can be fatal. Currently there is no specific treatment for horses with West Nile Virus, but preventative measures are recommended.

If pet owners suspect their animals have been infected with West Nile virus, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. The SPCA of Texas is the leading animal welfare agency in North Texas. 

The non-profit organization operates two shelters and two spay/neuter clinics located in Dallas and McKinney, and maintains a team of five animal cruelty investigators to respond to thousands of calls in eight North Texas counties. 

Moreover, the SPCA of Texas serves as an active resource center for an array of services that bring people and animals together to enrich each others’ lives. 

The SPCA of Texas is not affiliated with any other entity and does not receive general operating funds from the city of Dallas, State of Texas, federal government or any other humane organization. 

The SPCA of Texas is dedicated to providing every animal exceptional care and a loving home.

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