Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine has confirmed the first known case of the H1N1 virus in a cat. Up until now, the virus has only been found in humans, pigs, birds, and ferrets.
Apparently, the feline got sick after being exposed to several household members who had flu-like symptoms. The feline will recover. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there is no evidence that the cat passed the virus to any people.
Pet owners need to monitor their pets’ health closely and take them to a veterinarian at the first sign of illness, especially if there are people in the household sick with the H1N1 virus.
According to Iowa’s Department of Health “Indoor pets that live in close proximity to someone who has been sick are at risk and it is wise to monitor their health to ensure they aren’t showing signs of illness,” said Dr. David Schmitt, State Veterinarian for Iowa.
People can keep their pets healthy by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and minimizing contact with pets while ill with influenza-like symptoms. That may mean not letting your cat or dog curl up with you while you are sick.
Your pet can’t get an H1N1 vaccine so their only line of protection is you. Keep your cat and dog away from people suspected to have the illness.
The AVMA is actively tracking all instances of H1N1 in animals and posting updates.