H1N1 Swine flu confirmed in a cat (and a couple ferrets)
Yesterday the veterinary community got the first confirmation that a cat had been officially diagnosed with H1N1 (aka swine flu) . So far this is the only case and the cat caught it from its people, not from other cats. The cat has recovered from its illness and has no permanent problems from being sick.
Here is the official release and the link to the American Veterinary Medical Association website for new releases on H1N1
At this point we do not know if this will continue to be an issue in cats or how sick cats will get with H1N1 . In fact we have very little information to go on. There is no vaccine for cats and I do not believe there will be.
H1N1 has not been documented in dogs although has been isolated in one ferret and possibly in another. One of these ferrets has died, the other one is recovering.
The vaccine for H1N1 in people does not prevent infection or transmission of H1N1, it just reduces severity, so getting vaccinated for H1N1 does not protect your cats from exposure.
My best advise at this time is to be extra careful with hand washing if you have the flu and keep stress to your cat as low as possible.
I will update you as more information becomes available.
2pm update – just found out that the ferret with confirmed H1N1 is recovering. There is another ferret who died but it is not confirmed that it is from H1N1 yet although suspected.
11/19/09 update – more cats and ferrets have come down with H1N1. There are still very few cases and most animals are recovering well. One cat has however died of suspected H1N1 infection although it has yet to be confirmed. Please follow the AVMA page linked above for further updates.