Photo by johnbullas (creative commons - see below)
Can My Cat Catch Swine Flu? The answer is almost certainly, no. The feeling I get from listening and reading is that the experts are not completely sure. This is partly because swine flu is a bit of an unknown quantity in respect of this particular type as it has mutated and is a mix of 4 (or is it 3) different types of genetic material (human, pig and avian flu viruses). It is considered theoretically possible that it could transmit from human to cat. But an influenza virus particular to an animal species generally confines itself to that species.
For example, we do not pass our flu to our cats and visa versa. The most high profile person providing advice in this instance is Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Hospital in New York City, who says that, "Currently there's no data demonstrating any risk of dogs and cats contracting this strain of the virus." This underlines what I said above. She is not sure but our knowledge of the transmission of influenza viruses generally indicate that cats will not catch this virus. The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) say this, "there is no evidence that pets are susceptible to this new strain of influenza; it appears to be transmitted solely from person to person". Once again a cautious statement because we are in new territory with this virus.
That said things change in the world, new viruses mutate and pop up. We don't know much about these new strains of virus and are accordingly uncertain about them and frankly frightened of them - hence the caution. I think too, that there has been a degree of media hype over this. We have to be cautious, yes, but the media do like to exaggerate things to make the news more interesting. I sense that the dangers to us are not as severe as once thought and that also means that the danger of our cats catching the virus are even slighter.
Conclusion: Not to worry but wait and see. I think the whole thing will fizzle out.......See also Zoonotic Disease Carried by Cats (new window)
Can My Cat Catch Swine Flu? - Photo: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License -- this site is for charitable purposes in funding cat rescue. By johnbullashttp
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