Could the Bird Flu Outbreak Affect Your Dog?

In the U.S., poultry farmers are dealing with a very quickly spreading outbreak of the avian bird flu. As of just a few weeks ago, over 35 million farmed birds have contracted a case of the H5N1 bird flu virus. On top of that, about 800 wild birds have come down with a case.

In order to stop the spread of the disease, state authorities are encouraging residents to take down bird feeders in their yards and to refrain from filling bird paths.

But, even with these protocols in place, many pet owners are still wondering if their pup can catch the bird flu.

What is H5N1?

Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 has formerly spread across Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Reports of other animals contracting the disease were found including humans and felines. There was also a reported case of infection in a domestic dog.

Can dogs get the bird flu?

While dogsĀ canĀ get the bird flu, they most likely won’t.

There have been reported cases of dogs being infected with the flu in Thailand in 2006 since it can be spread through an infected animal’s saliva, feces, and mucus. However, this situation is rare.

As of right now, there have been no reported cases in the U.S. of dogs contracting this virus.

According to Dr. Arce, President of the American Veterinary Medical Association, “The risk of a dog or a cat contracting this disease in the U.S. is very low.”

However, as we know, viruses are always mutating. Veterinarians and researchers are doing their best to stay up to date.

Good practice would be to limit your dog’s interaction with birds. Also, keep their food covered and stored, and only let your pup drink fresh water.

Keep your dogs on a leash in order to avoid contact with dead or sick birds. And of course, don’t let them have contact with infected poultry or carcasses.

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