Tuesday, November 10, 2009

H1N1 concerns

I am speaking with WAMU this morning about the kitty in Iowa that tested positive for H1N1 and concerns for infection in our pet animals. The quick facts on this are the cat developed upper respiratory signs after two humans in the house were sick with flu like symptoms. Confirmation of infection with H1N1 was confirmed and the cat has since made a full recovery. It is believed that the cat was infected by the people in the house and not the other way around.

We have long known that many viruses can pass between people and animals so this event is not wholly unexpected. The important things to keep in mind are that this is an isolated incident and extensive testing by the World health Organization has determined that infection in other species does not indicate that the H1N1 virus has mutated to a more virulent form.

In order to keep your own animals healthy you should continue to practice good hygiene such as washing hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and perhaps you should avoid sneezing in your cats face. It is also a good idea not to snuggle with your animals if you are not feeling well. If your cat or dog does develop flu-like symptoms see your veterinarian immediately. There are many viruses that cause similarly clinical signs to influenza and most respond to simple supportive care.

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