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H1N1 Confirmed in Iowa Kitty!

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Pets can catch flu too: H1N1 confirmed in Iowa kitty


A cat in Iowa has come down with a case of H1N1 swine flu, the first reported confirmed case of infection in a house pet.

The 13-year-old cat apparently caught the flu from one of the people living in its house who was sick with a flu infection, the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The veterinarian who treated the cat, Dr. Brett Sponseller, says two of the three people in the same house had flu-like symptoms before the cat became ill.

"Two of the three members of the family that owns the pet had suffered from influenza-like illness before the cat became ill," Iowa Department of Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Ann Garvey said in a statement.

"This is not completely unexpected, as other strains of influenza have been found in cats in the past."

The cat and the infected owners have recovered.

There is no evidence the cat passed the virus on to any more people.

While H1N1 swine flu has been diagnosed in a number of animals, including ferrets, turkeys, and pigs, this is believed to be the first known case of a case in a house pet.

Theoretically, dogs can also catch swine flu; so far, though, none have been diagnosed. The illness has been diagnosed in birds, though, having recently been found in a turkey flock in Ontario.

Veterinarians say that pets that live in close proximity to someone who has been sick with the flu are at risk of contracting the virus too. But even with seasonal flu, it is uncommon for flu viruses to jump between humans and pets.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association advises that people can keep their pets healthy by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and minimizing contact with their pets while ill with the flu.

Pet owners should monitor their pets' health and consult a veterinarian if their pet is showing any signs of illness, the CVMA recommends. Common signs of flu infection in pets include not eating, drinking, or playing as usual. Pets may also cough, sneeze, or develop a fever.

Most animals infected with H1N1 so far have shown mild respiratory illness -- or no illness at all -- and have recovered well.

Genetic testing of H1N1 swine flu had suggested the virus has the DNA components of swine flu, bird flu, and human flu strains.




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I believe it. My daughter has a cat at college that is strictly indoor only. She has had him for about 2 months and she found him as a stray kitten. He has no contact with any other animals. She got sick with the flu about 2 weeks ago, but has since recovered. Then 4-5 days ago she called me and said, "Mus is sick. I think he has a bad cold." I asked her how that was possible because he needed kitty germs to get a virus and he hasn't been outside. She insisted he had a fever and looked terrible. I didn't think anything about it until just now. Mus has since also recovered.


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