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Author Topic: H1N1 cases in cats and other pets  (Read 24049 times)
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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2009, 06:39:51 AM »

VIN's report:
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RIP little angel Katey

« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2009, 07:29:24 AM »

I think in this case, as in most cases of viral illness, you would require a threshold exposure of the virus in order to become infected. There are so many variables with this cat infection, it's difficult to figure out why it jumped. They may have been susceptible all along, but the last time a similar H1N1 came around, cats weren't pets like they are today. They spent a lot more time outdoors and I don't think their owners had as much interaction with them as they do now. It may also be that because there were three individuals stricken with the virus in this family that the viral load just couldn't be overcome by the cat. That may be why we're not seeing more of this, especially from this last round in the spring.

Also, from the experience with the Spanish flu, that H1N1 virus was more virulent and destructive in younger individuals and that may be the case with the family of this cat. We also don't know if the cat had any underlying medical issues such as other immunocompromising viruses. I would imagine there are people that will be looking into this -- poor cat might become and unwitting celebrity. The good news is that it recovered, so we do know it can be overcome. Did it need any medications? We don't know from the story what the treatment for it was -- maybe nothing.

My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2009, 09:03:03 AM »

November 5, 2009, 8:39 am
Can Pets Get Swine Flu?
By The New York Times
... People with flulike symptoms can protect their pets with the same precautions used to minimize transmission of virus between humans. Such measures include washing hands thoroughly, particularly before handling the pet or preparing food; covering coughs and sneezes; and avoiding close contact with the pet during the course of illness.
It is common for pets to share beds and other furniture with humans, and this should be avoided during an illness. ...

... There is no evidence to date that any human has been infected with influenza by a pet, or of infection being transmitted from one cat to another, from a dog to a cat, or vice versa.

Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Recent reports of H1N1 in a cat or pigs are likely very rare, experts say
Posted November 4, 2009

« Last Edit: November 05, 2009, 09:15:28 AM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2009, 01:20:45 PM »

... The unusual case has riveted pet owners and health officials. Companion animals have been known to contract flu from other species — canine influenza (H3N8) originated in horses, and cats contract avian influenza (H5N1) from eating birds. But this appears to be the first time a cat has contracted influenza from a human. Two pet ferrets, one in Oregon and one in Nebraska, have also tested positive for H1N1, and the virus has also been transmitted between humans and pigs.

The cat was treated at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University by veterinarians Dr. Brett A. Sponseller and Dr. Albert Jergens. Although the family has asked not to be identified, Drs. Sponseller and Jergens have disclosed additional details about the case.

The cat, a 16-pound orange tabby, began acting lethargic and lost his appetite on Oct. 27. He is the only pet in the house and never goes outside. The cat, described as “large framed but not chubby,” stopped eating and drinking and stopped cleaning himself. He also rested by hunching on all four feet, rather than sprawling out on his side as usual, a sign of respiratory discomfort. A few days earlier, two out of three family members in the home had developed flu-like symptoms, with fever and body aches. ...

... Although cats can contract flu from birds, this cat never left the house and was never exposed to any other pet. At that point, it occurred to the veterinarians that since the family members had been recently ill, they might be seeing a case of flu transmitted from human to cat. The school is the site of a major diagnostic lab, so the veterinarians were able to test the cat and quickly confirm he had H1N1, a finding that was later confirmed by additional testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Additional testing is being conducted to confirm that the family members had H1N1 and to try to verify that the flu was transmitted from human to cat. However, the circumstantial evidence is strong that the cat was infected by its owners and not the other way around. “This cat does not go outside,” Dr. Sponseller said. “Whatever came in, came to the cat.”

Dr. Sponseller says the cat is about 85 percent recovered. He was given fluids for dehydration and put on antibiotics to prevent a secondary bacterial infection. “He’s eating well, moving around well, and he’s back in his window watching the squirrels outside,” he said.

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« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2009, 10:02:43 PM »

From the Abstract mentioned above on a study of transmission of the seasonal flu virus after children received the FluMist or a placebo:


     "Results: Eighty percent of 98 vaccine recipients shed at least one vaccine strain. No clinically significant differences in solicited adverse events attributable to vaccine occurred; safety profiles were similar in both groups. Vaccine virus isolates retained their phenotypic characteristics (cold adaptation and temperature sensitivity) and did not revert at nucleotides known to confer an attenuating phenotype. There was one confirmed transmission of a vaccine strain to a single placebo recipient. According to the Reed-Frost model, the calculated probability of transmission to a child after contact with a single vaccinated child was 0.58% (95% confidence interval, 0-1.7%). There was no increased reactogenicity or other safety concerns in the recipient child.

Conclusions: Young children in a day care setting had a high rate of shedding and a low rate of transmission. No clinically significant illness occurred among children who received vaccine or placebo or in the child to whom the vaccine virus was transmitted."

     IMO, this study did not show that the FluMist vaccine allowed the flu virus to be transmitted and cause illness from the flu.  One child in the study showed evidence of transmission of one of the viruses in the vaccine on a nasal swab sample, but, according to the conclusion, this child, as well as the children receiving the vaccine or placebo, did not show any clinical signs of illness.  Rather than show any problem with the FluMist causing a spread of the flu, I think it shows the safety of the vaccine in regard to anyone becoming ill from contact with someone who has been vaccinated with it.
     In the case of the cat, it is most likely that it acquired the virus from its sick owners than the vaccine having any part in the equation.  The fact that the vaccine was introduced in Iowa in October is not relevant.  It was introduced in just about all the states around the same time so that was not a unique happening.  It will be interesting to see if any more information comes out about this case, but I seriously doubt the vaccine will be implicated in any way.
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2009, 10:58:37 AM »

How to "diagnose" influenza in pets (University of Guelph)

The presence of someone in the household with influenza should get you thinking about flu in a sick pet, but it is far from diagnostic. Many, many people have influenza, but very few pets do. There are many other diseases that can produce signs similar to influenza in pets. The health of people in the household is an important thing to know, but we can't jump to conclusions based on the household history alone.

Laboratory testing is required for the diagnosis of influenza, and there are a few options:

•PCR testing of nasopharyngeal (throat) or nasal swabs, or fluid collected from the trachea: This molecular test detects influenza virus RNA. This is the fastest test and it is most sensitive when samples are taken early in disease.
•Serology: This involves testing blood for antibodies against influenza. Two samples are taken 10-14 days apart. If the antibody level rises 4-fold or greater, that is indicative of influenza infection. This is considered the most reliable method of diagnosis but takes time.
•Virus isolation from nasopharyngeal or nasal swabs, or tracheal fluid: Samples are inoculated into eggs to try to grow the virus. This can take quite a while and isolation of the virus can be difficult.
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2009, 05:25:54 PM »

Poco, I think that assumption, that cats have been catching H1N1 for some time, is probably right. I have had numerous vets
who swear that sick owners come in often with sick cats. Heard that a lot. It's just no one tests to see if owner and pet have
the same disease. And there was a comment like that in one of the things I posted, that vet offices across country thought cats
had been coming in for some time this year with respiratory problems.
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2009, 06:08:02 AM »

... CSU’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is testing pets for H1N1 as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network. This network is using a test initially developed to test pigs for H1N1. It was approved this week for testing companion animals. Tests are performed on nasal or mouth swabs. Swabs should be obtained by a veterinarian and submitted to the lab for results.

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« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2009, 06:30:54 AM »

The cat that got the H1N1 was exposed to its owners who had the H1N1. No mention of being exposed to anyone who got a nasal vaccine.  I think it is a stretch to try to connect the two.  The seasonal flu vaccine has been available in the nasal form for a few years now and I don't recall any reports of it causing the flu in other species.  The nasal flu vaccines are a MODIFIED live virus, which means that it has been stripped of its ability to infect, but not of its ability to replicate just enough to confer immunity. Immune-compromised persons COULD possibly experience flu-like symptoms from exposure to someone who has gotten a nasal vaccine. But, they do not get a full-fledged case of the flu.  A side effect from the nasal vaccine for the person getting it is also the possibility of flu-like symptoms, but they do not get the flu itself. 
Yes, H1N1 is widespread in humans and by now it is also likely to be widespread in pets.  The virus is quite promiscuous and there was nothing unusal about the cat in Iowa, oter than the access to testing by its owners.
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2009, 01:13:25 PM »

This virus does not seem right now to be as deadly as once predicted. Personally I'm hoping it stays that way
while science comes to understand it better.
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Trooper,Remy & Fragile

« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2009, 04:59:08 PM »

Welcome Dr Niman !

"the world's most inept extortionist"
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« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2009, 09:16:36 PM »

Nice to have you on the site Dr. Niman, welcome!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2009, 10:37:20 PM by JJ » Logged

May your troubles be less,
Your blessings be more,
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door
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« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2009, 10:31:52 PM »

Welcome, Dr. Niman!
« Reply #28 on: November 09, 2009, 05:21:30 PM »

I need a little help with introductions here, please, for those of us unfamiliar with the name. Sounds like someone I should become
familiar with.

Now I'm embarassed, Dr. Niman, for not connecting the name with Poco's post.

I realize information is very sparse, Dr. Niman, but is there any advice you might have for the pet owner, cats first as they have
been diagnosed, but concerning dogs, too? Thank you if there are any comments you'd care to make.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2009, 06:41:35 PM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2009, 05:55:11 PM »

H1N1 and Animals
News archive for H1N1 stories related to pets, veterinarians and other animals
By Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM,
See More About: h1n1 flu influenza virus zoonotic diseases
Stories about the H1N1 virus are in the news daily, and can be overwhelming. This news archive is focused on animal cases of H1N1. According to the CDC, the swine version (influenza type A H1N1) was first isolated from a pig in 1930. To date, The H1N1 cases documented in turkeys, ferrets and a cat have caught the H1N1 virus from humans, not the other way around.

I especially like the Iowa State care tips in their PDF should you end up with a sick pet with confirmed H1N1, which include washing
everything "impervious" with a 1 to 10 bleach and water solution.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 06:04:50 PM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
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