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Author Topic: Fuzzies and H1N1  (Read 2682 times)
Kalimata
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« on: November 04, 2009, 03:30:45 AM »

As this wonderful flu season hits us, we must start to be concerned about our fuzzies and influenza, more specifically H1N1.  Studies done in the states show that, quote:

 "Preliminary findings in ferrets suggest that the novel 2009 H1N1 influenza virus may outcompete human seasonal influenza viruses, researchers say. Tests in animals showed that levels of the 2009 H1N1 virus rose more quickly than levels of the seasonal virus strains, and the new virus caused more severe disease. In line with previous findings by other research groups, the University of Maryland researchers also observed that the novel H1N1 virus was transmitted more easily from infected to uninfected ferrets than either of the two seasonal influenza viruses." end quote. 

This is not to incite panic, but we must remember basic infection prevention measures, not only for ourselves but for our ferrets.

1)  Any and all human strains of Influenza (including the H1N1) CAN be transmitted from human to ferret, and from ferret to human.  If you are sick with flu like symptoms, STAY AWAY from your ferrets!  Have another family member, room-mate or friend feed and play with the ferrets.

2)  WASH YOUR HANDS!  If you are ill, or if your ferrets are ill, always wash your hands before and after handling the ferret, or any cups, dishes, glasses, or used tissues which may have been in contact with the virus.  Alcohol based hand washes are excellent to use, so long as the alcohol content is 70% or higher.  If not, wash for 30 seconds with soap and warm water.

3)  Sneeze or Cough into your elbow pit, not your hands.  You are not likely to get any virus on your hands this way.  This is generally considered a better way of "covering your mouth/nose" then into your hands, or a tissue.

4)  If one of your ferrets shows symptoms of the flu, proceed with the standard illness treatments.  Lots of fluids, lots of food.  "Duck Soup" is a far better option for a sick fuzzy as it is easier to eat, and contains a lot of liquid.  Fluids are the most important thing to remember, and check often to see if the ferret is dehydrated.  Pinch the skin of the scruff of the neck, and twist it, approximately 90 degrees.  If the fold of skin does not return to it's original position rapidly, or stays in the "twisted" position, they are in need of fluids, and force feeding, or sub-cue fluids may be needed.  Separating the ferret may be a good idea to prevent transmission of the virus.

I have an email into a Vet right now concerning this topic, and treatments suggested.  As soon as I hear anything else, I will post what I've heard. 

Remember as well, feel free to call the rescue, or the ferret phone with any concerns, or questions you may have.  Either Ferrettaxi (The VP of the rescue) or myself (The personal slave of the VP of the rescue) would be more than happy to answer any questions you have, and help out when necessary.

Keep on Ferreting!!
James
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ferretfan
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2009, 10:07:41 AM »

A couple of shelters in the US have already been hit hard with many of their ferrets getting sick from H1N1.

I'm glad none of my ferrets are showing symptoms as I've been off sick with this nasty virus for a week and a half now.

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