Swine Flu and Pets

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Yesterday I got the news of a confirmed case of swine flu in a cat. The thirteen year old cat contracted the flu from his family and has recovered without problems. Most of the time we do not worry about giving flu to our pets, but with the swine flu, it may be different, especially with birds, ferrets, cats and pet pigs. There have been 2 confirmed cases of swine flu in ferrets which did result in a death of one of the ferrets. I have been fielding calls today about pets passing swine flu to people, but it is the other way around. Humans are passing the swine flu to their pets. So if you are feeling under the weather and possibly coming down with the flu, resist the temptation to snuggle with your pet while you are ill.

As of now, we have not seen swine flu infections in dogs, but their is an influenza virus that can infect dogs. There is a vaccine for the influenza virus recently approved as well as the Bordetella-parainfluenza-adenovirus (kennel-cough) vaccine that we regularly recommend for dogs, especially those that board or go to areas where other dogs frequent, such as grooming, pet stores, dog parks, etc. As of now, there is not a vaccine for the swine flu for dogs or cats, and because of such infrequency of getting the virus, there may be no need in developing one.

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