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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 2009 Newsletter

Here is the tip for December:
Everyone is aware that the swine flu(H1N1) virus can be fatal to humans but what about dogs and cats? Can they spread this virus to each other or a member of the human family? According to infectious disease experts, at this time the answer is most likely no. This is to say that to date no know cat/dog to human (vise versa) influenza transmissions. Until just recently.
It has been confirmed a cat has caught the H1N1 virus from humans. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that a cat became ill with H1N1 virus after three members of the family with influenza-like symptoms on November 4, 2009. "13-year-old indoor cat in Iowa was brought to the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center at Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, where it tested positive for the H1N1 virus".
Care should be always taken to use proper sanitation and personal hygiene in all cases of illness, and especially for the ever-changing influenza viruses.
There are two types of influenza viruses: Type A and Type B. The Type A viruses are found in humans and many types of animals , usually strains specific to that species. The Type B viruses circulate widely among humans.
Dog and cats do have their own versions of influenza viruses. The canine influenza virus is an influenza Type A H3N8 virus, and the feline version is a Type A H5N1 influenza virus. (The number of letters after the type denotes the number of types of protein's on the surface of the virus. The letter H stands for Hemagglutinin and the letter N stand for neuraminidase).
While they both have influenza Type A viruses that can infect and cause illness in dogs and cats, humans are not as similar of the species to share these viruses in the current forms. There have been no reports yet of any cases that have spread to humans or form humans to pets.
"To date, there is no evidence that domestic cats have a roll in the natural transmission cycle of H5N1 viruses" and "the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has issued preliminary recommendations for cat owners living in H5N1-affected areas. These include keeping domestic cats indoors to prevent exposure to potentially infected birds and avoiding contact with semi-domestic and feral cats living outside the home." Report from the CDC "To date, there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza from dogs to people and there has not been a single reported case of human infection with the canine influenza virus. However, human infections with new influenza viruses (against which the human population has little immunity) would be concerning if they occurred.
Influenza viruses are constantly changing and it is possible for a virus to change that it could infect humans and spread easily between humans." CDC Key Facts Sheet.
As always, if you suspect that your dog or cat is sick, please contact your veterinarian directly for an examination and to discuss any questions. Always us good sanitation practices (wash hands, etc) when dealing with animals.
This information was taken from a report written by Janet Tobiassen Crosby.

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