The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that Iowa health officials have confirmed that a pet cat has been diagnosed with H1N1 influenza virus. The cat has made a full recovery, and its illness is suspected to have arisen from a person in the household who was sick with H1N1. There is no indication that the cat may have passed infection on to other animals or people.
This event was not unanticipated, as some viruses can be spread between animals and people, and H1N1 had previously been diagnosed in pigs, birds, and ferrets; other strains of influenza have previously been diagnosed in cats.
Protecting your pets’ health while you or a family member is similar to protecting human health: wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and limit close contact while you’re ill. As always, Priority Pet Hospital encourages pet owners to monitor their pets’ health and call a veterinarian if signs of illness are detected.
The AVMA is tracking news about H1N1 on its website.