Just a week after DVM Newsmagazine (and the Vet Blog) reported that cats and dogs do not appear capable of contracting swine flu (also known as H1N1 influenza), a cat in Iowa has proved the opposite.
Today I received the following action alert from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
2009 H1N1 influenza virus confirmed in Iowa cat
November 4, 2009 A 13-year old cat in Iowa developed signs of a respiratory infection after several people in the household were ill. Preliminary testing was positive for 2009 H1N1 on October 29, and the results were confirmed on November 2. This is the first report of a cat infected with H1N1. The cat has recovered from its illness.
To date, this is the first cat confirmed infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus. Two ferrets, one in Oregon and one in Nebraska, have also recently been confirmed infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus. The Nebraska ferret died, but the Oregon ferret has recovered. To date, there is no evidence that the ferrets or the cat passed the virus to people.
The American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Feline Practitioners are reminding pet owners that many viruses can pass between people and animals, so this was not an altogether unexpected event. We are advising pet owners to monitor their pets health very closely, no matter what type of animal, and visit a veterinarian if there are any signs of illness.
The good news, of course, is that the cat recovered and that animals have not yet been shown to pass the virus to humans.
I will continue to relay to my readers all of the information I receive on feline or canine H1N1 influenza.