00569-A: West Nile Virus Infection in Dogs of Southern Wisconsin

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Jorge E. Osorio, DVM, PhD; University of Wisconsin, Madison
April 1, 2005 - March 31, 2006

Sponsor(s): Berner Lovers, Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Northern California, Flat-Coated Retriever Foundation, French Bulldog Club of America, Golden Retriever Foundation, San Joaquin Kennel Club, Starlight Fund

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Immunology and Infectious Disease
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West Nile virus (WNV) is an arthropod-borne RNA virus that has caused significant public health concerns in human and veterinary medicine in recent years. Infections by West Nile virus are known to occur in Wisconsin in several species, including humans. However, a study of the natural activity of West Nile virus in Southern Wisconsin needs to be conducted to assess the risk to infection of people living in these areas. Domestic dogs can serve as a sentinel species for WNV to obtain a more accurate estimate of the occurrence of WNV in Wisconsin. Additionally, there have been recent reports of neurological disease developing in dogs associated with West Nile infections. This is in contrast to previous studies, which suggest that WNV does not cause disease in dogs. Serum samples will be obtained from domestic dogs at veterinary clinics in Southern Wisconsin. These samples will be screened for the presence of immunoglobulin M and G antibodies to WNV using enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA). Information concerning the age, sex, county of residence, habits, and health status will be collected by survey for each dog sampled. The prevalence of West Nile antibodies in these dogs will be compared between groups based on age, sex and county of residence. The prevalence of WNV antibodies in dogs will result in a better understanding of the virus activity and the potential for humans to be infected with WNV. In addition, to investigate the possibility of WNV as an emerging disease of domestic dogs we will attempt to isolate virus from dogs with clinical symptoms compatible with WNV. The results of this study may have large impact on the surveillance and prevention programs for WNV and determine whether WNV is an emerging disease for domestic dogs in southern Wisconsin.


None at this time.

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