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Author Topic: Ferret with the Flu  (Read 3220 times)
ferret_girl
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« on: September 18, 2009, 11:41:55 AM »

I'm just wondering if anyone knows whether or not flu-like viruses can be transmitted from dog to ferret? One of my ferrets has been ill since Monday with what seems like the flu (lethargy, Runny/congested nose, cough). We brought her to the vet on Tuesday and she said that Crunch (the ferret) was suffering from the flu since she had no fever, her lungs were clear and she seemed to be fairly bright but very much under the weather. This morning Crunch was much worse and was coughing quite a bit...I brought her to the vets where they are doing some bloodwork, xrays and IV fluids to check for a systemic infection. Crunch also has a fever today.

So here's the question(s):
My brother, had the flu this past week; however, he was not in contact with Crunch...one of my dogs was recently diagnosed with pneumonia from an unknow cause but experienced similar symptoms as Crunch. He was in close contact with Crunch so she was definitely exposed to whatever he had. I know that ferrets can get the flu from humans and vice versa; however, is just being in the house with my brother enough to possibly transmit the flu to her or is there a chance Crunch got the flu or virus from my dog?

I'm just curious for future reference...Crunch's symptoms are actually very similar to those of H1N1, imagine a ferret with the swine flu? Is it possible??

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Kalimata
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 12:45:43 AM »

If it is the flu (influenza) then yes, just being in the house can transmit it to your ferret.  At the hospital, we have to take full protective procautions when a patient with influenza comes in (Gowns, gloves, and n95 particulate masks) because it is transmitted in the air via fluid droplets.  Because the virus can live on surfaces, it theoretically could have transmitted from brother to dog to ferret. Or just brother to ferret via droplets in the air.

Pneumonia is a totally different disease altogether, and as for dog to ferret infection, I'm not sure.  I'd say not, but because there are many strains of pneumonia, bacterial and viral, it's possible.  That's more a vet question.

Could Crunch have H1N1, absolutely.  The influenza virus hits ferrets and people alike, and the immune system response is so alike, that ferrets are used in influenza research.  H1N1 is merely a strain of influenza so yes,  he could have it.  One has to remember that the immune response to influenza is pretty much the same, regardless of strain, so much so that it's only with blood tests can you discover the strain.  Still, I'd recommend no kisses, wash your hands immediately after touching Crunch, and try and keep him isolated from everyone else, preferably in a separate room until his symptoms disappear, and even for a few days after.

Hope it helps
James
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