WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/15/2011) - The illness of a 6 year old Wisconsin cat has been declared to be the first confirmed case of the H1N1 influenza virus in a United States pet since January of 2010. The American Veterinary Medical Association has announced that laboratory tests have confirmed the feline was sick with the flu that caused a scare among the human population not too long ago. The cat may have caught the disease from its owner who had symptoms before the cat became ill. The feline was euthanized after it failed to respond to treatment.
A second cat in the household tested negative after it also developed severe respiratory disease, although it is now presumed that it too had the virus.
Both cats were euthanized after failing to respond to treatment.
The owner of the cats had been ill with flu-like symptoms prior to the cats' illness and is believed to be the source of the infection.
In addition to humans and cats, this strain of H1N1 influenza virus has also been found in pigs, birds, ferrets and a dog. There have been no confirmed cases of pets passing the virus back to people.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is reminding pet owners that some viruses can pass between people and animals, so this is not an altogether unexpected event.
Pet owners should monitor their pets' health very closely, no matter what type of animal, and visit a veterinarian if there are any signs of illness.
For H1N1, signs of illness can include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, runny nose or eyes, sneezing, coughing or changes in breathing.
The AVMA is actively tracking all instances of H1N1 in animals and posting updates on our website at www.avma.org/public_health/influenza/new_virus.
The AVMA and its more than 81,500 member veterinarians are engaged in wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health.
Anyone may visit the AVMA Web site at www.avma.org to learn more about veterinary medicine and animal care.
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