Monday, November 16, 2009

Your eHow of the Day

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How to Protect Your Pet From the Swine Flu

by Melissa Maroff

You may have heard by now that the very first pet has fallen victim to H1N1 (Swine flu): a 13-year-old Iowa house cat. The 16-pound tabby joins the list of nearly 25,000 lab-confirmed human cases in the United States.

But rest assured, the kitty is recovering nicely, no other cases have been reported of H1N1 moving from animals to people and the virus does not appear to spread easily among animals, according to Ann Garvey, DVM, of the Iowa Department of Public Health. More encouraging news: there has never been a report of human seasonal influenza (“regular flu”) affecting cats or dogs, according to an article on

So where does this all leave us? “We just don’t know,” Dr. Garvey says. Veterinarians believe the cat likely contracted H1N1 from his owners, as two of his human family members had recently suffered from a flu-like illness. But this case could have been a fluke, given the cat’s advanced age and weakened immune system (after all, he’s no “spring chicken”)â€"or on the other hand, it may be a forewarning of future pet disease. There's not enough evidence at this point to tell.

In any case, if you’re worried about spreading H1N1 to your petâ€"vets recommend adhering to the same guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest for protecting your human family membersâ€"including the following.

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