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Cat Owners Beware: Felines Can Catch The Dog Flu

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You may have heard that a highly-contagious influenza virus has been spreading to dogs across the United States. But did you know that it’s possible for your cat to contract the illness, too?

According to a report by the University of Wisconsin’s School of Veterinary Medicine, a group of cats at a shelter in Indiana tested positive for canine influenza, or dog flu.

“Suspicions of an outbreak in the cats were initially raised when a group of them displayed unusual signs of respiratory disease,” Sandra Newbury, a clinical assistant professor and director of the Shelter Medicine Program said in the report.

“While this first confirmed report of multiple cats testing positive for canine influenza in the U.S. shows the virus can affect cats, we hope that infections and illness in felines will continue to be quite rare.”

In addition to its scarcity, the other good news is that the virus probably won’t threaten your kitty’s life. The report states that “symptoms have resolved quickly and so far, the virus has not been fatal in cats.”

However, it’s good for cat owners to practice caution, especially if they have a cat that goes outdoors or is exposed to dogs that goes to parks, boarding, or daycare. Families with felines should look out for the following symptoms, as outlined by the aforementioned report:

Cats that have contracted the virus in the shelter have displayed upper respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and general malaise, as well as lip smacking and excessive salivation.

To read the full report, click here. A little awareness can help our beloved four-legged family members stay safe and healthy!

Written by Karen Harris
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