Can your animal contract H1N1?

November 11, 2009

Up until recently, it was believed that your animals were safe from the H1N1 virus. This was a historical conclusion because the flu virus has never passed from human to animal in the past. A few days ago, two members of the Ames Family in Iowa came down with the virus. Oddly, they noticed that there 13 year old cat was not doing well either. Concerned they had the animal tested and results came back as the H1N1 virus.

The reason this was so odd is because in the past, when house pets contracted the flu is was passed to them from other species of animals. The cat was treated at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University by veterinarians Dr. Brett A. Sponseller and Dr. Albert Jergens. Since news spread of the case, Dr. Sponseller has received emails from owners all over the country. “Since this news story broke, I’ve had owners from around the country sending me e-mails about their experiences. It’s suggestive that it has happened before, but there’s no confirmation,” said Dr. Sponseller.

Dr. Sponseller also stated that there is no evidence that a cat could give a person the flu, and transmission is unlikely because cats with flu typically don’t cough or sneeze. This is very good news for the human population because the H1N1 virus would spread much more rapidly if animals were able to pass the virus to humans.

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