Even though government agencies report that the prevalence of the H1N1 flu strain has declined over the past two months, pet owners are still reporting cases of the virus in their animals. The flu was recently confirmed in two Colorado cats, but some veterinarians say that simple precautions should adequately protect pets and alleviate their owners’ concerns.
According to Dr Robert Thorsen, a vet at the All Dogs and Cats Clinic in Glenwood, Colorado, the same measures taken to prevent the spread of the swine flu between humans also apply to pet health.
Hand washing and avoiding contact with the eyes, nose and mouth remain the easiest steps to prevent the virus’ spread within any species.
Because Thorsen expects more pets to be ushered into kennels during the holiday season, he is recommending vaccinations and inter-nasal sprays for both dogs and cats, which can prevent illnesses passed between animals in shelter environments, the Glenwood Post Independent reports.
Ideally, he told the news source, owners would get their pets inoculated five weeks before delivering their pet to a kennel, and again two weeks before for the greatest immunity.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have emphasized that there is currently no evidence to suggest swine flu can be passed from pets to people.