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the H1N1 flu virus and your pets
December 01, 2009

Issue #017, December 2009


In This Issue

Dog Care News You Can Use:

  • H1N1 Flu Virus Now Affecting Pets?

OPD News and Updates
  • Our own Dr. Carol Jean Tillman interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about the pros & cons of anesthesia-free dog dentistry

Stay on top of the latest dog care research and trends for knowledge that will help to keep your dog healthy and happy. Each month's edition of OPD's Dog Care Monthly will include:

OPD's Dog Care MonthlyDog Care News You Can Use - including research, trends, real-life stories, veterinarian advice and any information that we know you'll want to hear to help you take better care of your dog.

OPD's Dog Care MonthlyOrganic Pet Digest Web Site Updates - important additions and updates that shouldn't be missed. We sift through all of our advice and tools and bring to your attention to the best of the best of what's new.

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Organic, Natural and Holistic Dog Care
News You Can Use

H1N1 Flu Virus Now Affecting Pets?


Many of you likely need a break from the constant news and hype concerning the H1N1 flu virus this winter.

We apologize for seemingly jumping on the media bandwagon, but we decided this was an opportune time to clear up some false rumors concerning transmission of the H1N1 virus from humans to canines.

On a similar note, are you aware of the various diseases and viruses that have been proven transmissible between humans and canines? A few of these diseases are common knowledge among pet owners while others are sure to surprise you.

First, letís take a look at the current situation with the H1N1 flu virus.

As of today, there have been no reported cases of dogs being infected with H1N1. But in recent news there have been reports of cats who have fallen ill and tested positive. The two cases we know of occurred earlier this month in Iowa and Oregon. One of the cats recovered from the illness while the other died within 3 days of showing symptoms. In each case, there was at least one person ill with H1N1 in the house prior to the catsí positive diagnosis.

Aside from the confirmed feline cases, the only other animal diagnoses of H1N1 have been in ferrets.

So does this mean that dogs are immune to this virus?

At this point there is no answer to that, but we do know that the H1N1 virus has proven to be a unique strain of the influenza virus that is seemingly quick to mutate, it has shown itself in animals and it can be deadly. To keep an eye on up-to-date information concerning this issue or to read more details about the existing reports, click here.

The strand of Influenza virus that does affect canines is called (H3N8) and was first discovered in 2004. This canine flu virus in transmissible only between the canine species and has proven to be highly contagious. For detailed information about canine influenza and to learn more about symptoms, vaccinations and treatments, click here.

Now letís take a look at the diseases and viruses that have been proven transmissible between humans and canines.

Many of these diseases are quite rare and not something to be extremely concerned about while others are prevalent in cities all over the U.S. (Note: this list does not include all diseases transmissible between all types of animals and humans)

For additional information on any of the following, click the link provided.

Hookworms and Roundworms - These worms are commonly found in dogs and cats and can be spread to humans by ingestion of contaminated feces. The worm eggs present in the feces can hatch in the intestines and begin migrating throughout the body. In extreme cases, these worms can cause a disease called visceral larval migrans of the eyes or liver. This disease is most common in young children due to their lack of proper hygiene. The disease can cause varied symptoms including blindness, fever, chills, malaise and an elevated white blood cell count. This is highly preventable by keeping your dog on a quality heartworm preventative.

Cryptosporidium - is caused by a single-celled organism that is found all over the world. It is passed from canines to humans or humans to humans through fecal contamination, and symptoms are generally mild in healthy individuals and animals alike. Symptoms generally last for up to six weeks and include diarrhea, abdominal pain and flu like symptoms.

Rabies - Rabies is a virus we all associate with wildlife, but any warm-blooded animal is susceptible to the disease. In the United States, the most common carriers are bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks but there are still a number of reported canine rabies cases each year. The disease is passed through a saliva-contaminated bite. Thankfully, there are excellent vaccinations against rabies for both dogs and humans.

Campylobacter - Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial disease caused by an organism that can be found in the intestinal tract of many animals. Humans can become infected through contact with dog feces. Symptoms of this disease typically last one week and include diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever.

Streptococcus and Staphylococci - These bacteria are commonly found on most animals that associate with humans. The bacteria generally cause no problems for the animal, but have been know to cause skin and eye infections in certain cases. These bacteria can be spread from pets to humans via contaminated hands and other objects and can cause minor to severe eye and skin reactions.

Helicobacter Pylori is a bacteria that causes ulcers in the stomachs of animals and people. This bacterial disease is thought to spread between canines and humans through poor sanitation. The most common symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Lyme Disease is a disease caused by a bacteria which is carried through ticks. The most common source of infected ticks is the household dog. If your dog does bring infected ticks into the house it could cause serious health problems for you and your family. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include rash, swollen and painful joints, fever, enlarged lymph nodes and a variety of neurological changes. The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to use a good flea and tick preventative on your dog at all times.

Ringworm is not a worm but rather a slow growing fungus that feeds on the dead skin cells and hair of all species of mammals, including dogs. If the spores of this fungi come in contact with bare skin, the fungus can be transferred to humans. It is easily treated in both canines and humans.

Sarcoptic Mange or Scabies is caused by a tiny mite that can affect both wild and domestic animals. The mite burrows into the skin and causes extreme itching and hair loss on dogs. Scabies is one of the most contagious diseases because the mites are such talented jumpers. If the mites find a human host, the main symptoms will be severe itching and skin rash.



OPD News and Updates

Our own Dr. Carol Jean Tillman interviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle about the Pros & Cons of Anesthesia-free Dog Dentistry

In an interview by the San Francisco Chronicle, Dr. Carol Jean Tillman, head of Organic Pet Digest's Holistic Veterinary Council and lead veterinarian for our My Online Vet Ask-a-Vet service, was asked the following:

I'm reluctant to put my dog under anesthesia to get his teeth cleaned and have heard of anesthesia-free dentistry. This sounds appealing, but what are the pros and cons?

Click here to see the article and her responses.

For more on appropriate dental care, see our Dog Dental Hygiene page.




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