Yes, Cats Can Catch the Swine Flu

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Our cut little and cuddly cats that purr at us and give us so much love seems be susceptible to catch the swine flu. In fact, a cat in Iowa has tested positive for the H1N1 virus, state officials confirmed this morning, "marking the first time a cat has been diagnosed with this strain of influenza," the association said in a statement.

"The cat, which has recovered, is believed to have caught the virus from someone in the household who was sick with H1N1. There are no indications that the cat passed the virus on to any other animals or people," the statement said.

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This is most peculiar as it is fairly uncommon that flu viruses cross between different species and now H1N1 has been found in pigs, turkeys, a ferret and a cat. Though some viruses can be transmitted from people to their pets it is rare pets give the flu to their owners.

This case of the 13 year-old cat with swine flu is bringing about a reminder to pet owners the American Association of Feline Practitioners that pet owners should monitor their pets' health very closely, no matter what type of animal, and visit a veterinarian if there are any signs of illness.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says that as far as anyone knows and a cat with H1N1 did not infect family members with the virus. It seems it is the other way around. Until more information is available vets are recommending that pets are treated the same way humans are regarding precautions to prevent the flu. This means isolating your pet from sick family members, covering your mouth when you cough, washing your hands and all the rest. And, take your pet to the vet if they appear sick. Basically, take care of yourself and your pets.

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth

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