Earlier this year, H1N1 was targeting humans, but now the flu is affecting other species too, which includes our pets. To date, two felines from Oregon and one ferret from either Nebraska or Oregon have died from H1N1. However, there have been even more animals including cats, turkeys, pigs and a cheetah that have tested positive for this flu. So far dogs and birds have not yet been infected. With these H1N1 pet cases now in the states, it’s important to take precautionary sanitation measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Respiratory colds are common during the dry, winter months, and it’s important to stay on top of your health and your pet’s well-being too. Since H1N1 can be spread from a human to an animal, it’s best to keep contact with your pet limited when you have a cold. If you’re pet does contract this particular flu virus, it’s possible for them to recover, but it’s wise to take extra care when you’re sanitizing your home. You can never be sure whether your pet’s immune system is already compromised.
Using a steam cleaning mop can kill the germs off of your floors, and it’s also beneficial to keep a stock of Lysol products, which claim to kill the H1N1 virus, in your cleaning product arsenal. Or you can create a natural cleaning mixture of water and an anti-microbial or anti-virus essential oils such as Tea Tree or Cinnamon oil. Adding 10 to 20 drops of one of these essential oils in a spray bottle full of water makes for an eco-friendly and efficient all-purpose household cleanser.
Other ways to protect your pets include common sense behavior such as washing your hands often and covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough. It’s wise to contact your veterinarian if your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms: loss of appetite, dehydration, fatigue, coughing, congested lungs, or continuous discharge from the nose and eyes. Unfortunately, an H1N1 vaccine for pets doesn’t exist, so it’s best to limit your contact with your pets when you get sick and also keep your pets away from other sick animals.
Keeping your home sanitized and following these tips can help reduce the chances of your pet becoming ill. It’s beneficial to be as cautious as you can, because veterinarians are still unsure of how contagious H1N1 is when it comes to pets.