Veterinarians in White Plains, N.Y., have identified the first known case of pandemic H1N1 influenza in a dog -- a 13-year-old mixed-breed male who is now recovering.
The dog was tested because his owner previously had swine flu.
The virus has been found before in other pets, including at least three ferrets, several cats and pigs and a cheetah named Gijima at a wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa, Calif.
A couple of the cats died, but most of the animals recovered.
In each case, the virus is thought to have been transmitted to the animal by its owner or handler; there is no evidence of the virus being passed back to a human.
These incidents “are not a reason to be concerned,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “A rare occurrence in other species is not a problem.”
And for those who are wondering: The symptoms of flu in pets are the same as they are in humans: fever, lethargy, runny nose, lack of appetite, coughing and possibly sneezing.