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First dog diagnosed with swine flu

Jenny Decker RN's picture

A dog that was suffering from breathing problems was taken to the Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center in Bedford, New York on December 13th. The dog was tested for the H1N1 virus because its owner previously had the swine flu, writes Associated Press. After two labs confirmed the presence of the 2009 H1N1 virus, the first dog in the USA was diagnosed with swine flu.

Various other animals have gotten the swine flu over the last couple months. These include cats, ferrets, pigs, and even a cheetah named Gijima who is at a wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa, California. Even though a few cats have since died from the swine flu, most of the animals have fully recovered, writes the Los Angeles Times. Each case has been determined to have been transmitted from owners or handlers who have had H1N1.

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Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, states that this is a rare occurrence and is no need for concern. Spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association, Michael San Filippo, states that even though the animals have gotten the H1N1 virus from humans, there is no evidence that humans can get the swine flu from them. San Filippo states, “In theory, it could happen but so far its really looking like a dead end in pets.”

The CDC states that the swine flu is waning in humans. In October, 48 states were inundated with the 2009 H1N1 virus. Now only 11 states have the flu virus. Dr. Anne Schuchat states that pet owners should not be afraid to enjoy their pets. The American Veterinary Association recommends that people with sick pets should wash their hands frequently and not kiss them. If owner or pet is sick, isolation from each other should be done as much as possible.

The dog had a checkup Tuesday and is doing better, although not completely recovered. The owner and the name of the dog have not been revealed and the owner has decided not to speak with reporters.

Pets do get the same signs and symptoms of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus as humans. The most common include fever, lethargy, runny nose, lack of appetite, coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing.