Are Dogs Spreading the H1N1 Flu?

by Ben Team Google
    Pets can get some of the same diseases that people can.

    Pets can get some of the same diseases that people can.

    Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    Like many influenza viruses, the H1N1 virus has crossed species lines, infecting pigs, ferrets, humans and some cats -- including a cheetah at a California zoo. While veterinarians have reported several cases of the infection in cats, they've only reported a few cases of the virus in dogs. While flu viruses mutate rapidly, and scientists cannot rule out the possibility occurring in the future, no occurrences of dog-to-human transmission of the virus have been reported.

    Cases of Infection

    Chinese scientists reported the first two cases of the H1N1 virus in dogs in November 2009. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association won't confirm this, as they could not gain access to the dogs or the results of any tests. However, in December of the same year, researchers confirmed that a dog from New York had the virus. The dog -- who eventually recovered with veterinary care -- caught the virus from its owner, whom doctors confirmed had H1N1. In addition to H1N1, dogs can get their own version of the flu, called H3N8, which likely originated in horses before mutating into its current form.

    Photo Credits

    • Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    As a lifelong environmental educator and International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist with more than 17 years of animal care experience, Ben Team writes about pet care, natural history, environmental issues and outdoor recreation. Team has authored, co-authored and ghost written more than 1,000 articles, blog entries, educational references and books, in both print and electronic form.

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