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Your Flu Shot Protects Pets, Too

Researchers Studying Human-to-Dog and Cat Transmission

It's the first year for flu shots in the Ward household.

I always get mine, and have already had one this season. (Not to brag...)

My husband, on the other hand, is one of those people who doesn't believe in flu shots.

This year it's different, though, expecting a little one with no immunities.

Or is it?

Apparently this is all old news to the masses — 1970s for cats, 2000 for dogs — but I just learned this week that if the flu finds you, it can find your pet, too.

In fact, pets may even contract the flu from us humans more often than initially thought, and perhaps even moreso among cats, according to recent reports.

Veterinary researchers at Oregon State University and Iowa State University are currently studying this “reverse zoonosis” among cases on the H1N1 flu strain, which has some veterinarians urging awareness to their clients.

"We worry a lot about zoonosis, the transmission of diseases from animals to people," said Christiane Loehr, an associate professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, in a release. "But most people don't realize that humans can also pass diseases to animals, and this raises questions and concerns about mutations, new viral forms and evolving diseases that may potentially be zoonotic.

“All viruses can mutate,” she added, “but the influenza virus raises special concern because it can change whole segments of its viral sequence fairly easily.

“And, of course, there is concern about the health of the animals."

Rather than cuddle up with your furry friend when you're sick, Loehr and her colleagues are actually suggesting you keep your distance until you have been without fever unmedicated for 24 hours.

Meanwhile, heed what you learned in gradeschool: wash your hands often and cover those coughs. And if a pet starts to experience flu-like symptoms, too — fever, sneezing, fatigue, persistent coughing or eye or nasal discharge — visit the vet for testing and treatment.

In the first recorded case of H1N1 traveling from human to pet, in Oregon in 2009, an 8-year-old indoor cat died of pneumonia caused by an H1N1 infection while its owner was still in the hospital with the infection.

To date, 13 cases of human-to-dog or cat H1N1 have been confirmed by the researchers, who are now trying to determine whether cats are more prone to H1N1, considering their large increase in flu since the 2009 pandemic.

Flu shots are available now at all the clinics.

Get one to protect yourself, your family, your coworkers and your pets.

Glen Geichen October 08, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I was with the Canadian Forces in 2009, was ordered to get the H1N1 shot (AREPANRIX by GSK GlaxoSmithKline) and had an adverse reaction to the vaccine. I received PERMANENT neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and respiratory symptoms: dizziness, vertigo, irregular heart rhythms, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and pain, and numbness in hands and feet. My physical fitness changed from special forces fit to that of a 70 year old in a matter of days. According to Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an epidemiologist and an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, "In the early weeks of the pandemic that people who got the flu shot (H1N1) for 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn't received the shot". In the UK, the "FINAL PUBLIC SUMMARY - UK Suspected Adverse Reaction Analysis, Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccines - Celevanpan and Pandemrix, 26 March 2010" details more than 8,600 suspected reactions classified into 650 reaction names. I asked my doctor and he didn't hesitate in saying "no way". Be informed and please choose wisely if you do plan to have your next flu shot or vaccination.
Roger Pelizzari October 09, 2012 at 02:29 PM
No Value in Any Influenza Vaccine: Cochrane Collaboration Study OCTOBER 5, 2012 This study is damning of the entire pharmaceutical industry and its minions, the drug testing industry and the medical system that relies on and promotes them. Influenza vaccines produce no benefit and cause serious harm.  by Heidi Stevenson A remarkable study published in the Cochrane Library found no evidence of benefit for influenza vaccinations. It’s also damns the quality of flu vaccine studies by saying that the vast majority of trials were inadequate. The authors stated that the only ones showing benefit were industry-funded. They also pointed out that the industry-funded studies were more likely to be published in the most prestigious journals … and one more thing: They found cases of severe harm caused by the vaccines, in spite of inadequate reporting of adverse effects. The study, Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults, is damning of the entire pharmaceutical industry and its minions: the drug testing industry and the medical system that both relies on and promotes them. In the usual scientific journal style of understatement, the authors concluded: The results of this review seem to discourage the utilisation of vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public health measure. Full article: http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2012-10-05/no-value-in-any-influenza-vaccine-cochrane-collaboration-study/

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