Swine flu has been diagnosed in a cat.
Prior to this episode the virus has also been found in pigs, birds, ferrets and humans.
The cat was 13 years old, and multiple people in the household were ill prior to the cat being affected. The cat presented to its veterinarian with upper respiratory tract signs and is expected to make a full recovery.
Age and immune system status may have been contributory factors making this individual cat more susceptible to swine flu infection than a young healthy cat.
The strain of virus was confirmed to be the 2009 H1N1. It is unknown at this time whether the sick humans in the household also had confirmatory testing. All indications, however, point to the humans passing the virus to the cat, not the cat giving swine flu to the humans.
No experts are surprised by this event, as viruses commonly are transmitted between pets and humans.
One source I read suggested pet owners wash their hands after handling their pets to avoid transmission, but this case makes obvious the importance of washing one’s hands before handling pets, too!
MyPetsDoctor.com will keep you up to date as new information is released on swine flu infecting dogs and cats.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.