Could your cat or dog be in danger of contracting the H1N1 virus? According to a recent report by the CDC, the answer is a cautious yes.
Reuters is reporting that a 13-year-old dosmetic housecat in Iowa was diagnosed with the swine flu after being in close proximity with three family members who had flu-like symptoms. Two ferrets in Oregon have also died as a result of being exposed to the virus via their owner.
“We’ve known certainly it’s possible this could happen,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Tom Skinner. “This may be the first instance where we have documentation that transmission occurred involving cats or dogs.”
So what can you do to protect your pets? Follow the same considerations as you would with any other person. Wash your hands before you touch them, clean surfaces in the house they may come in contact with, don’t share food with them if you experience any flu-like symptoms, and don’t allow friends or strangers to touch or pet them without using a hand sanitizer.
If you think your pet is sick, look for the following symptoms:
– No energy
– Loss of appetite
– Difficulty Breathing
Keep in mind, there is NO H1N1 vaccine for animals, so your best defense in protecting your pet is to be hyper-vigilant about keeping a germ-free environment and ensuring they don’t come in contact with anyone that may have recently been sick or has been around someone that has been sick.