No H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine for Pets

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Iowa Cat, Oregon Ferrets Infected
As of November 5, 2009, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports swine, turkeys, ferrets and a domestic cat have contracted the H1N1 virus.

In Ames, IA, a family pet cat tested positive for the H1N1 virus in early November by Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The cat, and family members, have all recovered from the flu.

As of November 10, 2009, the American Veterinary Medical Association confirmed four pet ferrets have tested positive for the H1N1 flu virus in Oregon. The family pets exhibited flu-like symptoms and were taken to their family veterinarian for testing and treatment.

The CDC reports the domestic cat and ferrets were exposed to ill family members preceding their diagnosis.

The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association reminds ferrets owners their pets are especially susceptible to flu viruses. If a pet ferret begins to show signs of respiratory difficulties or has a yellow or green discharge coming from the nose or eyes, to seek veterinary attention immediately.

Humans Infecting Pets
The H1N1 virus can be transmitted to the family pet from their infected human caretakers. Murray reminds pets owners to wash their hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and limit the contact between pets and family members recovering from the H1N1 flu.

Keeping pets out of the ill person’s bedroom, and away from infected objects, such as bedding and dirty laundry, will decrease chances of spreading the virus. There is currently no H1N1 flu virus vaccine available for companion animals, according to the CDC.

If a family member is recovering from the H1N1 flu, observe the family pet for signs of infection. Pets with labored breathing, coughing, sneezing or lethargy should receive a veterinarian evaluation.

The CDC reports in a website Q & A post dated November 5, 2009 there is no evidence to suggest pet-to-human transmission of the H1N1 flu virus.

Sources:
ASPCA Blog, “Update on H1N1 (Swine Flu) in Pets.” American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Veterinary Practice News. “More Oregon Ferrets Test Positive for H1N1.” Veterinary Practice News.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Q&A 2009 H1N1 (Swine Flu) and You: 2009 H1N1 in Companion Animals.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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