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Your cat and avian influenza (bird flu)

Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017 1:55 PM EDT
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Your cat and avian influenza (bird flu)

Leading UK feline welfare charity, Cats Protection, is urging pet owners not to panic about their pet’s health, or their own health, following the death of a domestic cat from bird flu in Germany.
 
Beth Skillings, Head of Veterinary Services for the charity, agrees with both leading health protection professionals and the President of the British Veterinary Association, that the risks to cats, and humans, from the H5N1 virus is small.
 
“We urge pet owners to be sensible and keep things in perspective. There is no need for owners to rehome their cats, or have them euthanized, because of fears of infection with bird flu. Furthermore, there is no need to keep cats indoors,” she said.
 
“The risk of cats catching bird flu is small – it mainly happens through felines eating infected poultry – but let’s remind ourselves that the H5N1 has not been found in this country. And even in areas of the world where bird flu is present, there has not been large numbers of deaths in mammals from the disease,” she continued.
 
There have been no recorded cases of cat to human infection from the virus. Cats do not have their own influenza virus (unlike humans or poultry) so the concern of cats acting as a host in which the virus changes to become transmissible between people is extremely unlikely.  Furthermore, there is limited evidence of cat to cat transmission of the virus in a non-laboratory environment.
 
The charity suggests that concerned owners could try and keep their cats away from wild waterfowl and poultry and, in line with DEFRA guidelines, safely dispose of any wild birds and poultry carcasses that their cat presents in a sealed bag in household rubbish outside using rubber gloves.  We recommend that raw meat or poultry should not be fed to cats, not only because of avian flu, but because of the risk of salmonella and other infections.
 
Owners of cats that hunt could also try and keep their pets in at dawn and dusk to lessen predatory activity. Normal hygiene practices should also be observed when handling cat or bird faeces.
 
No vaccine is licensed to prevent bird flu in cats.

 

Iran reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak in northern part of country: OIE - Reuters
24 Apr 2017 at 5:38am
Iran reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak in northern part of country: OIE - Reuters
24 Apr 2017 at 5:38am
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24 Apr 2017 at 1:21am
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21 Apr 2017 at 8:07am
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21 Apr 2017 at 8:07am
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20 Apr 2017 at 8:36am
No more bird-flu risk in Netherlands; poultry allowed outside again - NL Times
20 Apr 2017 at 8:36am
Georgia ends bird flu restrictions for producers - Atlanta Journal Constitution
19 Apr 2017 at 2:28pm
Georgia ends bird flu restrictions for producers - Atlanta Journal Constitution
19 Apr 2017 at 2:28pm
South Korea to keep importing eggs despite bird flu downgrade - WHTC
19 Apr 2017 at 12:18am
South Korea to keep importing eggs despite bird flu downgrade - WHTC
19 Apr 2017 at 12:18am
South Korea to downgrade bird flu alert status from highest level - Reuters
17 Apr 2017 at 10:45pm
South Korea to downgrade bird flu alert status from highest level - Reuters
17 Apr 2017 at 10:45pm
Bird flu redirects trade of U.S. goods - Toledo Blade
17 Apr 2017 at 9:03pm
Bird flu redirects trade of U.S. goods - Toledo Blade
17 Apr 2017 at 9:03pm
Bird flu measures could be lifted this week - Jersey Evening Post
17 Apr 2017 at 1:56am
Bird flu measures could be lifted this week - Jersey Evening Post
17 Apr 2017 at 1:56am
Welcome Easter present for East Anglian free range egg producers hit by restr...
15 Apr 2017 at 10:10pm
Welcome Easter present for East Anglian free range egg producers hit by restr...
15 Apr 2017 at 10:10pm
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14 Apr 2017 at 2:03am
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Outdoor return for hens as bird flu fears fade - BBC News
13 Apr 2017 at 4:08pm
Outdoor return for hens as bird flu fears fade - BBC News
13 Apr 2017 at 4:08pm
Spread of bird flu checked in Alabama, so far - Montgomery Advertiser
13 Apr 2017 at 1:17pm
Spread of bird flu checked in Alabama, so far - Montgomery Advertiser
13 Apr 2017 at 1:17pm
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13 Apr 2017 at 12:10pm
Bird flu: What is it, exactly? - Agri News
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13 Apr 2017 at 6:39am
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Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China - SciDev.Net
13 Apr 2017 at 5:36am
Virulent bird flu strain threatens to spill out of China - SciDev.Net
13 Apr 2017 at 5:36am
State Vet: Bird flu in Middle TN did not spread - WBIR-TV
12 Apr 2017 at 5:21pm
State Vet: Bird flu in Middle TN did not spread - WBIR-TV
12 Apr 2017 at 5:21pm
China's H7N9 bird flu death toll at 47 in March: government data - Reuters
11 Apr 2017 at 11:41pm
China's H7N9 bird flu death toll at 47 in March: government data - Reuters
11 Apr 2017 at 11:41pm
NEWSFLASH: Bird Flu restrictions lifted for Melton poultry owners - Melton Times
11 Apr 2017 at 9:58am
NEWSFLASH: Bird Flu restrictions lifted for Melton poultry owners - Melton Times
11 Apr 2017 at 9:58am