A 13-year-old castrated male cat infected with A(H1N1)
VETS in the US state of Iowa said a household cat had tested positive for swine flu - the first known case in the world of the new pandemic strain spreading to the feline population.
The domestic shorthair, a 13-year-old castrated male, apparently caught A(H1N1) off its owners - two of the three members of the family had previously contracted the deadly virus.
"This is the first cat that we are aware of with the pandemic H1N1,'' assistant professor of veterinarian microbiology Brett Sponseller said.
After ruling out most common causes of respiratory diseases, a team of university and state vets looked at the family history of the owners and guessed swine flu might be the cause.
After five days of tests, their fears were confirmed.
"This was a big deal and everyone involved understood that,'' Mr Sponseller said, adding that the owners had since recovered and that the cat had been given extra fluids and antibiotics and was "doing very well''.
Cats have previously been diagnosed with H5N1, a virus commonly known as bird flu that spread from poultry to humans, but this is thought to be a first for swine flu and has possible implications for the feared pandemic.
Mr Sponseller said the danger of an infected cat spreading the A(H1N1) virus to humans or to other cats was unknown but didn't appear to be high.
The prevalence of the disease in the cat population was also unknown, but the vet said he believed more cats will now be tested and confirmed to have the virus.
The cat owner, an employee at the Iowa vet school, insisted on anonymity and is not revealing the pet's name, Mr Sponseller said.
(Thank you and credits to http://www.whatsonxiamen.com and all sources for the information)
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