Humans can pass the flu onto their pets - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Humans can pass the flu onto their pets

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Did you know that the flu is so contagious, that we can even pass it on to our pets?

Julie Hitt, a registered nurse at Home Health United, stopped by our studios Tuesday for our weekly flu report.

She says a strain of the swine flu, or H1N1, has mutated. Now it's able to transfer from humans to dogs, cats and ferrets.

She says you should take the same precautions to protect your pets as you would to protect yourself and your family.

Wash your hands often, and when you're sick, limit your exposure to your pets.

Hitt says there is no vaccine pets can get to ward off the H1N1.

But, there is another strain of the virus, the canine flu or feline flu that is only passed from dogs to other dogs or from cats to other felines. There is a vaccine for that.

If your pet does contract the H1N1, they will have similar symptoms to humans; cough, sneeze, loss of appetite, runny nose, lethargic behavior.

Hitt says you should take them to the vet immediately if you think they may have the flu.

About half of the pets diagnosed with it have not survived because it transitions into pneumonia very quickly.

Hitt says you should never give your pets over-the-counter medication you would give to humans.

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