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Cats susceptible to H1N1

A five-year old cat in Calgary, Alberta, one of two cats in the same household, has died of the H1N1 virus. 

Veterinarians at the University of Calgary have stressed that pet owners should not worry. 

"They shouldn't be thinking that every respiratory disease a cat has is influenza", says Dr. Alastair Cribb. He adds that most cats diagnosed with H1N1 will survive.

The other cat in the household died first, but was not tested for influenza. It wasn't until the second cat fell ill that concerns arose, and veterinarians at the university were consulted. It was at this point that the disease was detected.

The cats were not outdoor cats, and there is no indication that the owners had influenza. There is speculation that the cat may have contacted the virus over Christmas, when company would have been in and out of the residence. 

Symptoms of H1N1 in cats are similar to human symptoms, and include coughing, fever, laboured breathing, lack of appetite, lethargy. Pets can be tested for H1N1, however there is currently no vaccine available against H11N for cats or dogs.

H1N1 has been reported in cats, ferrets and dogs in other countries, but not in Canada. 

Files: Calgary Sun

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