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Can My Dog Catch Swine Flu?

Don’t worry, pet parents! The recent, rapid outbreak of the H1N1 virus, previously known as swine flu, appears to present little risk of infecting our furry friends. In the past few weeks, only humans have been affected by the new virus, and it’s still unknown how the virus will impact other species.

“Currently there’s no data demonstrating any risk of dogs and cats contracting this strain of the virus,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Hospital in New York City. “However, owners of pet pigs, as well as farmers, should monitor their animals’ health more closely and take steps to limit transmission from humans to pigs and vice versa.”

If you do count a pet pig as your animal companion, please consult with your veterinarian about a Type A influenza vaccine, which is available and recommended for all healthy swine.

Dr. Miranda Spindel, Director of ASPCA Veterinary Outreach, adds: “Swine influenza or swine flu is one of the leading causes of respiratory disease in swine throughout the world. Like most influenza A viruses, swine flu generally causes high levels of illness in pigs, but fatalities are uncommon.”

For the latest information about the outbreak and your pet’s health, please visit the Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu). If you suspect your pet is ill or if he exhibits any sudden changes in behavior, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

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