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Cats are susceptible to the Swine Flu -- learn how to safeguard your pet

Earlier this month, the Department of Public Health confirmed H1N1 flu in a domestic cat and noted that ferrets are also affected by the H1N1 virus.   So far, there have been no reported cases of dogs contracting the Swine Flu.  The cat and the ferrets who contracted the virus became infected by human household members who had recently been ill with it.

Animals who have contracted H1N1 influenza have shown the typical signs of respiratory illness, including lethargy, decreased appetite, fever, runny nose and eyes, sneezing, coughing and changes in breathing patterns including difficult or labored breathing.

The best way to keep pets safe from contracting influenza is to routinely use common sense preventive health measures within your household, including washing your hands frequently, especially before and after contact with sick individuals and with your pets. Minimize your own and your pets’ exposures to flu sufferers and if you yourself are ill, limit contact with your pets to all but absolutely necessary interactions

If your pet's symptoms become severe, take her to the vet, but be sure to notify the vet when making an appointment that the animal is showing signs of respiratory illness, and take appropriate steps to protect other animals in the clinic.  Likewise, while taking your cat to the vet during flu season, keep her away from animals that show signs of respiratory infection and, as always, make sure your vet doesn't forget to wash her hands before examining your animal.

For more information, visit the Humane Society of the United States web page at