West Nile encephalitis: A new differential for neurological illness in dogs and cats - DVM
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West Nile encephalitis: A new differential for neurological illness in dogs and cats
As virus gains momentum, researchers still have incomplete picture on its impact on companion animals

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These tests are extremely useful, but should not be used as definitive tests as reactivity detected in these assays can only be considered flavivirus specific.

One of the most challenging tasks of the veterinary community, both academic and clinical, is to thoroughly characterize emerging disease problems within the populations we serve. This includes getting careful histories, recording clinical signs and including this information on submission forms sent to the laboratory so that clinical data can be compiled and shared with the rest of the veterinary community.

This task is made more difficult in the face of economic constraints at both ends of the spectrum as laboratories are facing ever restrictive funding that precludes doing large amounts of surveillance testing for infectious disease for free and as pet owners are feeling the effects of turbulent economic times.

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To date, we have a very incomplete picture of WNV-associated illness in companion animals. We currently have very little understanding of the number of animals exposed in a region and how that relates to the number of animals with potential WNV-associated illness. We have very little information about the details of disease progression and clinical outcome. Because clinical illness appears to be rare, it is only with the help of all members of the veterinary community that we will be able to define the clinical syndrome of WNV encephalitis in dogs and cats.

Dr. Glaser received her DVM degree from Cornell University in 1987. She completed a Ph.D. in virology in 1995 at the same institution. She has been a senior research associate at the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory since 1998 and has developed the WNV testing program at the laboratory. She routinely assists in investigations of infectious disease outbreaks in mammalian and avian populations and is engaged in research to develop rapid testing formats for the identification of viruses.


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