H1N1 identified in dogs

December 1, 2009 at 12:19 am Leave a comment

bigstockphoto_Sick_As_A_Dog_1491007I was just about to post this when I saw our reader, Snoopys friend, had beaten me to it. News is coming out of China that H1N1, the “swine flu” virus, has been identified in two dogs in Beijing. From China Daily:

Health experts in China have assured pet-lovers they need not panic following the discovery of two dogs infected with the deadly H1N1 flu at the weekend.

The animals were diagnosed in Beijing and, while it is possible for pets to transfer viruses to their owners, scientists said there is no evidence to suggest pets are already spreading the illness.

“If animals can get infected from humans, then the reverse is also true,” said Feng Zijian, director of emergency response for the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“But there is no need to panic in this case.”

He explained that so far, across the world, the virus has only been passed from humans to pets.

However, if the virus spreads among dogs, it could potentially be passed on when the animal sneezes or through its waste.

“Only when the virus mutates within dogs will it be a new threat to humans,” Feng said.

The virus found in dogs in Beijing was a 99-percent match for the flu currently infecting humans, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, which announced the canine infection on Saturday but did not elaborate on the breed.

Full story is here. And watch for my column in SFGate.com tomorrow, where I’ll be looking at H1N1 in cats and dogs, and the troubling reality that influenza viruses are, for the first time in known history, adapting to cause disease in our canine and feline family pets.


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