Reader Ann has a question: “Dr. Randolph, Question: Can cats get something similar to flu like dogs?
Influenza viruses are among the best at mutation. Their ability to change is the reason people need a different “flu shot” almost every year: the virus changes so much that one year’s immune system protection may not give cross-immunity to another year’s wild flu virus.
That said, chances are good that Canine Influenza mutated from another Influenza A virus to be able to create a whole new disease in a whole new species. As stated in the above-referenced article, naive immune systems leave newly-exposed victims susceptible.
Will there be a true Feline Influenza someday? Only the Good Lord knows, but time has certainly proven influenza viruses sufficiently adaptable to do whatever they want!
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.