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November 6 , 2009


Volume VII, No. 10



An electronic newsletter highlighting veterinary issues for Illinois veterinarians

© Peter S. Weber
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In this Issue

2009 H1N1 in Companion Animals

AVMA Issues Statement About Importance of Upcoming International Animal Welfare Symposium

About the Photo

Contact Us

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2009 H1N1 in Companion Animals
(Centers for Disease Control)

What animals can be infected with the 2009 H1N1 virus?
In addition to humans, live swine and turkeys, we know that ferrets (which are highly susceptible to influenza A viruses) and a domestic cat have been infected with 2009 H1N1 virus. CDC is working closely with domestic and international public and animal heath partners to continually monitor this situation and will provide additional information to the public as it becomes available.


How do companion animals become infected with 2009 H1N1?
All available information suggests that the ferrets and domestic cat with 2009 H1N1 infections acquired the virus through close contact with ill humans. Transmission of 2009 H1N1 virus from humans to animals appears similar to human-to-human transmission


Can I get 2009 H1N1 influenza from my pet?
Available evidence suggests that transmission has been from ill humans to their companion animals. No evidence is available to suggest that animals are infecting humans with 2009 H1N1 virus


What do I do if I am sick with flu-like symptoms and I have pets?
If you are sick with influenza-like-illness, take the same precautions with your pets that you would to keep your family and friends healthy:

• Cover your coughs and sneezes

• Wash your hands frequently

• Minimize contact with your pets until 24 hours after your fever is gone

What should I do if I suspect my pet has 2009 H1N1 influenza virus?
If members of your household have flu-like symptoms, and your pet exhibits respiratory illness, contact your veterinarian.


Is there a vaccine available for my pet?
Currently, there is not a licensed and approved 2009 H1N1 vaccine for companion animals. (There is a canine influenza vaccine, which protects dogs from the H3N8 canine flu virus, but it will not protect pets against the 2009 H1N1 virus and should not be used in any species other than dogs.)


How serious is this disease in companion animals?
Pet ferrets with naturally occurring 2009 H1N1 infection have exhibited illness similar in severity as seen with ferrets exposed to seasonal influenza viruses and 2009 H1N1 virus in laboratory settings, including sneezing, inactivity, and weight loss. The single confirmed cat exhibited respiratory illness and recovered with supportive care.


Additional Information American Veterinary Medical Association United States Department of Agriculture

AVMA Issues Statement About Importance of Upcoming International Animal Welfare Symposium

(SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) November 6, 2009—In preparation for the first-of-its-kind Joint International Educational Symposium on Animal Welfare, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has issued a videotaped statement by Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA, speaking out on the importance of the event and its focus on improving the quality of life for all animals.


“There are few issues closer to the hearts of veterinarians than animal welfare, and that’s why we felt it was important at the AVMA for us to be co-hosting this first-of-its-kind symposium,” Dr. DeHaven explained in his videotaped statement. “We think that this symposium could have tremendous impact. By bringing together animal welfare experts from around the globe, we hope to influence standards of care for animals of all kinds at the international, national and even local levels.”


International veterinary experts, animal scientists, political figures and leaders of humane and welfare organizations from around the world will converge at the symposium at Michigan State University November 8-11 to address animal welfare in all its complexities. The 2 ½-day symposium was developed and is being co-sponsored by the AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).


Speakers from North America, South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have been included in the program to discuss creative ways to approach many of the complex challenges in this important field.


“How animal welfare-related science and ethics are addressed within academic veterinary medicine and the current research environment at academic veterinary medicine institutions will be examined,” said Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou, executive director of the AAVMC.


More information on the 2009 Joint International Educational Symposium on Animal Welfare can be found on the AVMA’s Web site at The video is also available for the general public on AVMA-TV at, and a downloadable version of the video is available to members of the media at, For more information about the AVMA, visit

About the Photo

One look at the Redhead Duck (Aythya americana) and you can guess the origin of its name. Males have gray backs and sides; their upper backs, breasts, rumps, and tails are black; and they have white bellies. Their heads and necks are rufous-brown (red), and they have blue-gray bills that are black-tipped; their eyes are yellow.. Females have brown feathers and their bills are similar to male Redheads.


Redheads are diving ducks, commonly found in fresh water habitats across the United States. They are primarily herbivores, and their diving ability allows them to forage for plants often out of range for dabbling ducks. They breed in the northern prairies of the U.S. and Canada and intermountain marshes of the west and spend winters mostly in Texas and Mexico. They nest in marshes, open lakes, and bays; often wintering on saltwater.

I photographed this drake Redhead at Center Park in Las Vegas, NV in June 2008.

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