By Jennifer Mikuta, WPC Pet Sitter and Vet Tech
With the recent outbreak of K-9 Influenza in Chicago, IL and some cases in Wisconsin owners of cats who use a pet sitting service that also cares for dogs may be worried about their cat’s safety.
Here at WPC we take pride in making sure all of our clients are as safe as possible. The short answer is yes, cats can get the flu.
The AVMA states that “Unlike seasonal flu in people, canine influenza can occur year round. So far, there is no evidence that canine influenza infects people. However, it does appear that at least some strains of the disease can infect cats”. According to the CDC ” A canine influenza A H3N2 virus is responsible for an outbreak of dog flu reported in the Chicago area according to a press release issued by Cornell University, home to the New York State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory. Dog flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs. Two canine influenza viruses have been identified worldwide: an influenza A H3N8 virus and an influenza A H3N2 virus. No human infections with either of these canine influenza viruses have ever been reported”. Also “The H3N2 canine influenza virus is an avian flu virus that adapted to infect dogs. This virus is different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. H3N2 canine influenza has reportedly infected some cats as well as dogs. It was first detected in the United States in April 2015. The canine H3N2 virus is genetically different from human seasonal H3N2 viruses. It is not known how canine H3N2 virus was introduced into the United States”.
There have been no reported cases of a cat becoming infected in Chicago or Wisconsin.
WPC is unwilling to take the chance of spreading the flu to a cat or another dog. To date we have not encountered the K-9 flu, although we still put preventative measures into play. Our sitters wash their hands after each sit and carry hand sanitizer.
While we hope none of our clients comes down with the flu, should you suspect that your cat has the flu look for symptoms such as: coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes and nose, lethargy, not eating, and fever.
Rest assured that WPC will be keeping a close eye out for the flu, taking general disinfecting measures, and jumping into preventative action should a case be suspected.