Recently, the American Veterinary Medical Association notified its members about three cases of H1N1 in pets. Two ferrets and a cat contracted the virus from their human family. One of the ferrets and the cat recovered with supportive care. Unfortunately, the other ferret died from the disease. So far, there has been no documented spread of the virus from pets to people, just people to pets.
During this flu season, monitor your pets closely for signs of illness. If you are sick, please take these simple steps to protect them. Keep them in another room. Wash your hands well before touching them or handling their food and water bowl. Wash for two solid minutes with soap and water. In veterinary microbiology, the professor conducted an experiment to teach us the importance of proper hand washing. He divided us into groups and had one member per group wash their hands. When they finished, another member ran a moistened cotton swab over their skin and then streaked an agar plate with the swab. Next, he had the same person wash their hands for two minutes while another group member timed them. Again we swabbed their hands for culture. Two days later, the results shocked us. The plate from the ‘normal’ hand wash grew twenty plus colonies of bacteria while the two minute wash grew one. The same principle applies to viruses.
Therefore, I want to encourage you to take the time to really wash your hands. Pay special attention to the area under your nails and between your fingers. Let’s do everything we can to protect ourselves and our families during this flu season.