How to protect your pets from EEE

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Lansing, MI (WILX) -- Health officials have been taking measures to protect communities from the deadly triple EEE virus.

A tenth person has died from the virus nationwide.

Health officials in Massachusetts are confirming another death, making it the fourth death in that state from EEE.

Three people have died from EEE in Michigan.

In fact, out of the 27 human cases that have been confirmed in six states this year, eight of those have been in Michigan.

There have been 23 confirmed animal cases of EEE in Michigan.

In early September, test results confirmed that the mosquito transmitted virus is responsible for the deaths of two Mexican gray wolf pups at Binder Park Zoo.

The wolf pup death is the first non-equine or non-bovine case animal, which has led to public concerns about the safety of family pets.

While pets that spend the majority of the time indoors are at low risk for contracting EEEV, veterinarians at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Southfield, MI, recommend owners take a few precautions to ensure that pets are protected.

Take these precautions:
•Keep dogs inside during the time of high mosquito activity from dusk to dawn.
•Remove stagnant or standing water, for instance rid flower pots of water accumulation and remove any containers in which water can collect.
•Remove piles of decomposing leaves, lawn clippings, and manure.
•Check screens and repair any holes.
•Avoid turning on lights outdoors during the evening and overnight-mosquitoes are attracted to light.
•Apply mosquito repellents approved for animal use. Read the product label before using, and follow all instructions carefully–particularly, when it comes to cats.

What to apply:
Repellents used on humans are generally not approved for use on pets. Some flea and tick products that contain mosquito repellent, such as K9 Advantix (only for dogs), can be purchased over the counter. Typically, flea and tick products that work the best are those prescribed by your veterinarian (e.g. Simple Guard or Vectra 3D – only for dogs). Work with your veterinarian to determine safe mosquito repellents that can be used on your pet.

What not to apply:
DEET is the most effective mosquito repellents for humans, but should not be applied to dogs or cats. This chemical is toxic when ingested, and dogs and cats may lick it off after application.

The risk of mosquito-borne illnesses will drop after the first hard freeze of the year, but pet owners are encouraged to remain vigilant, as mosquitoes can survive in protected areas and indoors and still transmit disease.

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