The first confirmed case of H1N1 in an animal since January of 2009 was recently found in two domesticated cats. Strangely, the owners were also experiencing flu-like symptoms at the time of the cat’s diagnoses.
On its website, The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), states, “The symptoms in people are very similar to human respiratory flu, and may also cause gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting. In severe cases, pneumonia can occur. To date, most animals infected with H1N1 became infected after their owners had been ill with flu-like symptoms, and have shown mild respiratory illness or no illness at all. With few exceptions, most animals have fully recovered.”
The felines, a 6 year old male and a 10 year old female, did originally respond well to treatment, but sadly both did not recover fully and had to be euthanized.
There was some debate as to whether or not the female cat had H1N1, because the test results later came back negative. Though it is now believed that she did, in fact, suffer the illness.
According to Idexx, "The shedding period of influenza viruses is short, which may have been responsible for the negative PCR result."
For this reason, if pets are experiencing any symptoms of a respiratory illness, a visit to the vet as soon as possible is in their best interest.
Visit Idexx’s H1N1 alert for more information.