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Dogs and swine flu

OUR DOGS readers have raised the question, can dogs get Swine flu?

Swine Influenza is a respiratory disease in pigs caused by type A influenza virus. The outbreak is largely in Mexico and the USA although cases appear to be cropping up around the world as visitors to Mexico arrive home.With the total confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S. rising, the federal government had just declared a public health emergency. So far there have been cases reported in California (7), Kansas (2), New York City (8), Ohio (1) and Texas (2), according to the Centres for Disease Control.

But Our Dogs readers are concerned for their livestock and have asked the question, can my dog catch this virus?

The question is one that has a ‘so far’ answer. So far, it appears that dogs and cats cannot catch swine flu as no known cases of pets being affected by swine flu have been reported, and doctors are fairly certain that swine flu is not able to be spread to pets.

The scientific reasoning for why experts believe animals can't catch swine flu is that our genetics are different, and a flu virus that ‘fits’ our human system likely won't fit within your dog or cat's. To this date, there appears to be no information that says that pets can contract swine flu.
It is not typical for an animal flu to infect humans, however, this particular strain -- the swine influenza A -- has mutated in such a way that humans are susceptible, and can pass it to each other.

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