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West Nile Virus

Since West Nile virus (WNV) was first isolated in 1937, it has been known to cause asymptomatic infection and fevers in humans in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. Human and animal infections were not documented in the Western Hemisphere until the 1999 outbreak in the New York City metropolitan area. Since then, the disease has spread across the United States. In 2003, WNV activity occurred in 46 states and caused illness in over 9,800 people.

WNV is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds that have high levels of WNV in their blood. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit WNV when they feed on humans or other animals.

WNV is not contagious from person to person and there is no evidence that a person can get infected by handling live or dead infected birds. But, to add a further level of safety, if birds or other potentially infected animals must be handled, a protective barrier (e.g., gloves, inverted plastic bags) should be used.

Most WNV infected humans have no symptoms. A small proportion develops mild symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Less than 1% of infected people develop more severe illness that includes meningitis (inflammation of one of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord) or encephalitis. The symptoms of these illnesses can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Of the few people that develop encephalitis, a small proportion die but, overall, this is estimated to occur in less than 1 out of 1000 infections.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection or vaccine to prevent it. Treatment of severe illnesses includes hospitalization, use of intravenous fluids and nutrition, respiratory support, prevention of secondary infections, and good nursing care. Medical care should be sought as soon as possible for persons who have symptoms suggesting severe illness.

Individuals can reduce their contacts with mosquitoes by taking these actions:
When outdoors, wear clothing that covers the skin such as long sleeve shirts and pants, apply effective insect repellent to clothing and exposed skin, and curb outside activity during the hours that mosquitoes are feeding which often includes dawn and dusk. In addition, screens should be applied to doors and windows and regularly maintained to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.

For maps and more information on WNV follow this link to USGS website.


When traveling with your dog you should carry a first aid kit built just for the dog. The items listed here are for a basic kit which allows you to treat for minor injuries. You could also have your veterinarian help you put together a kit for your dog.

These are things you should know if you wish to help your dog in an emergency. This article will give you information on what to do if: your dog gets electrocuted, gets stung by a bee, stops breathing, gets into antifreeze plus much more. You may print a copy of this information for your own use (put in your first aid kit).

You may copy, print and distribute this chart but DO NOT MODIFY in any way!

Canine CPR chart.

20 Signs that your dog may be in trouble from bloat or torsion:

Know these symptoms as bloat can be fatal within an hour!!
Dogs showing any of these symptoms should be rushed to a veterinarian!


Salmon poisoning disease (SPD) is a fatal disease of dogs including wild species and occurs on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains from northern California to central Washington. The disease, first recognized by settlers in the early 19th century, was named salmon poisoning disease because dogs became sick after eating salmon.


When are advisories issued?

The Department of Human Services Public Health office of Environmental Toxicology evaluates bluegreen algae test data to determine whether algal blooms present hazards to animals or human beings. DHS does not have resources to collect or test algae samples, but DHS often receives reports of testing done by private contractors, researchers or other government agencies.

Why are advisories issued?

Algal blooms are common in surface waters throughout Oregon, and generally blooms contain many species of algae. Most algae are harmless, but there are several species of bluegreen algae (also known as cyanobacteria) that may produce toxins that are potentially harmful. In Oregon the primary algae’s of concern are Microcystis and Anabaena. Others may be identified in the future.
Advisories are issued by DHS when cell counts exceed certain limits or when potentially harmful toxin levels are found. Toxins in water may be absorbed by humans when swallowed, and when inhaled as droplets or spray in the air. Pets and domestic animals are at risk as well as human beings.

Advisories may include warnings against ingesting water, swimming or bathing, or inhaling water droplets. Advisories may also include information about treating water to reduce or eliminate toxins.

How long do advisories last?

Dangerous algal blooms may develop and disappear within a matter of days, or they may continue for weeks or months. The longest advisory period for any water body in Oregon to date began in early June and lasted into late November. The intensity of the bloom and the concentrations of toxin in a water body are not uniform. Often the algae are most dense around the edges of the water body, but wind or water currents may change the location of affected areas very quickly.

Usually a dangerous bloom is associated with a distinct bluegreen color and cloudiness in the water. Algal blooms often produce large floating masses of green, yellow or bluish green slime. Visibly affected water should be avoided whether or not there is an official advisory in place.


Many plants that are in or around your home are toxic to your pets. This is a list of some of those plants. The scientific name is given as well as the common name.


Foxtail seeds can enter a dog's body in a variety of ways and once they enter, they are like a fish hook: The seed only wants to move forward, not backward. It's most common for a foxtail seed to enter a dog's body through the skin, nose, ears, paws, and eyes. Cases have even been reported of foxtails being lodged in male dogs' urethras. One vet mentioned how a foxtail seed found in a dog's lung was believed to have entered initially through the dog's paw! Foxtail seeds are tenacious!

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