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H1N1 Latest Illness Shared By Owners And Pets

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Veterinary technicians Shannon Huza (left) and Utta Von Nuremburg (right) do blood work on a cat at Friendship Hospital for Animals.
Rebecca Sheir
Veterinary technicians Shannon Huza (left) and Utta Von Nuremburg (right) do blood work on a cat at Friendship Hospital for Animals.

By Rebecca Sheir

Word of a cat in Iowa catching H1N1 is now spreading and veterinarians are warning pet owners to be careful.

Lori Price lives in Friendship Heights with her four Greater Swiss Mountain dogs and she adores them. When she heard about a cat in Iowa recently getting H1N1 from its owners, she didn't think about her dogs.

"Frankly, H1N1 has not even entered my mind," says Price. "Maybe it should."

Then again, maybe it shouldn't. The World Health Organization reports most H1N1 infections are human to human.

While WHO hasn't confirmed any canine cases, Ashley Hughes, a veterinarian in Northwest D.C., says the virus could develop the ability to infect dogs. Hughes encourages owners to call the vet if they notice Fido or Rover coughing or sneezing.

Lori Price has her own prescription. "Give 'em big hugs every day," says Hughes.

Unless, of course, you're feeling ill. Then you might want to save the hugs for later.

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