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Cat disease. Avian flu – what is known. How to protect your pet

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A mysterious disease is attacking cats all over Poland. Of the eleven samples taken from dead animals tested, nine were confirmed to have avian influenza virus. What is known about the disease and whether and how you can protect your pet?

First information about a mysterious disease that affects cats appeared early last week. At that time, warnings were published on social media, including veterinary clinics and shelters from various places in Poland. Veterinarians appealed to cat owners to take precautions and not let their pets outside. What is known about the disease so far?

SEE ALSO: Mysterious cat disease. The virologist recommends what to do to reduce the risk of infection

Cat disease. Is it bird flu

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On Friday, the Chief Veterinary Officer announced that Influenza virus is the cause of cats’ illness. On Monday it was confirmed that in some cases it was avian flu. Of the 11 samples taken from cats, 9 tested positive for H5N1 influenza. Positive samples came from Poznań, Tri-City and Lublin – submitted. It was also emphasized that at the moment the source of these infections has not been determined. Preliminary tests have ruled out the origin of the influenza virus that has been causing gulls to become ill in recent weeks.

It is also not certain that all of the dead cats were infected with avian flu. Dorota Sumińska, publicist and veterinarian, pointed out on Monday on TVN24 that there is still too little information available to confirm this. – I see hope in the fact that these are viruses present in the environment, so some cats should know them. There will certainly be a large group of cats resistant to this disease. We have to wait for more accurate test results, she said.

– The number of cases (bird flu – ed.), which has been confirmed, is not large if we look at the size of the population of these animals in Poland, although they are new to us. This virus has been found in domestic cats only three times worldwide in the last dozen or so years. It’s hard to say whether it will be on a larger scale. Influenza viruses, as we know, are seasonal, so they appear and disappear – Prof. Krzysztof Rypuła from the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław.

Cat disease. Where cases have been recorded

According to the SpecVet veterinary clinic, which was one of the first to report the disease in cats, the first information was about the disease in the western part of the country. Later, however, they appeared in most provinces.

So far, cats of every age group, both pedigree and not, kept indoors and outdoors, vaccinated against infectious diseases and unvaccinated, have been affected. There are currently no reports that dogs are also affected by the disease. There are also no signs that the disease is a threat to humans.

SEE ALSO: Dead birds over the lagoon. The community asks for caution. “Highly pathogenic bird flu virus”

Cat disease. How many cases were recorded, how many of them ended in death

There is no detailed and confirmed information about exactly how many cats died from this disease. According to the announcement of the Pomeranian Voivodship Veterinary Officer of June 21, only in Gdańsk and the Gdańsk district, 28 sick cats were hospitalized, of which 25 did not survive. However, more recent information is missing. Earlier, on June 19, the SpecVet clinic reported that there were more than 70 reports of the disease nationwide, but the number of deaths was not known. It is also not known how many cases of the disease have not been reported.

Cat disease. What are the symptoms

The disease in cats is acute and the animals die in a short time. Symptoms include: high fever, shortness of breath, breathing problems, neurological disorders, apathy, lack of appetite.

Cat disease. Treatment

The SpecVet clinic appealed on social media not to treat animals with home remedies and not to give them medicines used in humans, because it may end up with severe poisoning. “Many human medicines are deadly to animals and giving them to your pet, even in good faith, can end in tragedy” – it was written.

Prof. Rypuła emphasizes that as soon as cat owners notice disturbing respiratory symptoms, they should report to a clinic where veterinarians will assess the potential threat. It reminds that such symptoms do not have to be related to the avian influenza virus, but result from another reason, both infectious and non-infectious.

Cat disease. How to protect animals from the virus

According to the recommendations of the Chief Veterinary Officer, cat owners should not let their pets outside (and if there is a need to let them out on a balcony or terrace, it should be preceded by washing the surface with standard detergents). Cats should also not be allowed to come into contact with wild animals, including birds, and with footwear that is used outside the home. Feed cats only from known sources and thoroughly sanitize hands after handling animals. Doctors also appeal to limit the contact of animals with raw pork and poultry meat and to prevent their contact with wild birds.

“Right now, it’s important that we stay vigilant. Just like during various types of epidemics, we kept clean, hygienic, washed our hands, followed security measures, so today we have to do something like this for cats – indicates Prof. Ripula. – So let’s try not to take cats outside, wash our hands after contact with their secretions, let’s keep our shoes clean and hygienic – he appeals. “These things will definitely lower the risk of infection,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Brazil fears avian flu. The country has already detected eight cases of the virus in wild animals

tvn24.pl, wetgiw.gov.pl, SpecVet

Main photo source: Adobe Stock

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