Tips for protecting your pets from illness - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tips for protecting your pets from illness

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -- The Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has reminders for pet owners concerning influenza.

Officials say in the fight to protect families against H1N1, it's important to remember to protect family pets from the illness, as well.  People who are sick with H1N1 can spread the virus not only to humans, but to some animals.  Wednesday, a case of H1N1 was reported in a cat being treated at Iowa State University in Ames.

"Two of the three members of the family that owns the pet had suffered from influenza-like illness before the cat became ill," said IDPH Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Ann Garvey. "This is not completely unexpected, as other strains of influenza have been found in cats in the past." Both the cat and its owners have recovered from their illnesses.

Officials say people can keep their pets healthy by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and minimizing contact with their pets while ill with influenza-like symptoms. If your pet exhibits signs of a respiratory illness, contact your veterinarian.

"Indoor pets that live in close proximity to someone who has been sick are at risk and it is wise to monitor their health to ensure they aren't showing signs of illness," Dr. David Schmitt, State Veterinarian for Iowa said.

For more information about H1N1, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/h1n1/ or call the Iowa Influenza Hotline at 1-800-447-1985.

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