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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Swine flu little risk to pets

The ASPCA has a message for pet parents worried that the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, might affect their pets: The virus appears to present little risk of infecting companion animals.

“Currently there’s no data demonstrating any risk of dogs and cats contracting this strain of the virus,” said Dr. Louise Murray, director of Medicine at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Hospital in New York City, in the organization’s recent online newsletter. “However, owners of pet pigs, as well as farmers, should monitor their animals’ health more closely and take steps to limit transmission from humans to pigs and vice versa.”

The World Health Organization says the virus is being spread through humans, and that a swine herd in Canada likely was infected by a farmworker who returned from Mexico, according to an Associated Press report Sunday.

The ASPCA is advising people who have pet pigs to consult with their veterinarians about a Type A influenza vaccine, which is available and recommended for all healthy swine.

Dr. Miranda Spindel, director of ASPCA Veterinary Outreach, said, “Swine influenza or swine flu is one of the leading causes of respiratory disease in swine throughout the world. Like most influenza A viruses, swine flu generally causes high levels of illness in pigs, but fatalities are uncommon.”

For the latest information about the outbreak and your pet’s health, visit the Center for Disease Control at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu. If you suspect your pet is ill or if it exhibits any sudden changes in behavior, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Sylvia K said...

Thanks for the information, Antonette! I'll be keeping an eye on our two!

mary_bc said...

Appreciate the heads up. With these present day, highly resistant super/smart viruses who knows how they'll choose to meld with one another; in turn, infecting all kinds of species.