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Protect Pets from Avian Flu

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Recent outbreaks raise concerns about transmission to cats, posing dangers to North American pets. Take Action!

Avian flu, also known as avian influenza, is not just a disease that affects birds—it can also pose a threat to humans and pets1. Recent outbreaks in Poland have raised concerns about the transmission of avian flu to domestic cats, highlighting the potential dangers it poses to pets in North America.

Bird flu outbreaks have been reported in numerous countries around the world, indicating the global prevalence of this infectious disease2. The highly pathogenic A(H5N1) viruses have been detected in wild birds and poultry, raising concerns about its potential impact on public health.

The recent avian flu outbreaks in Poland have drawn attention to the potential transmission of the disease to pets, particularly domestic cats3. Cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) infection in cats have been confirmed, leading to ongoing investigations to determine the source of the infection and the possibility of transmission between cats and humans3.

While the severity of the disease and the risk it poses to humans remain uncertain, the primary concern at present is the transmission of avian flu to pets, specifically cats3. However, transmission to humans can and does occur, albeit sporadically and in specific contexts4.

The threat of avian flu is not limited to specific regions experiencing outbreaks. In the United States, sporadic human cases and increased activity in wild birds, poultry, and other animals have been reported5. Although the overall risk to human health remains low, there is still a potential for continued sporadic human infections.

The recent cases in cats highlight the potential threat avian flu poses to pets, including those in North America6. Cats may be vulnerable to infection if they come into contact with infected birds or their bodily fluids, raising concerns about further transmission to humans.

As a responsible pet owner, it is crucial to take action to protect your furry companions from avian flu. By being proactive and taking the necessary precautions, you can play a vital role in mitigating the spread of this disease and safeguarding the well-being of your pets.

Join us in protecting pets from this potential health threat. Take the pledge to reduce the risk of avian flu and keep your pets safe. Together, we can ensure a healthier world for our beloved pets and ourselves.

Take the pledge now to protect your pets and yourself from avian flu!

More on this issue:

  1. American Veterinary Medical Association (2023), "Avian influenza in pets and backyard flocks."
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (6 July 2018), "FluView Interactive."
  3. Lisa Schnirring, CIDRAP - Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (26 June 2023), "Polish officials probe H5N1 avian flu link to cat deaths."
  4. BNO News (23 June 2023), "Poland investigating bird flu outbreak among cats."
  5. World Organisation for Animal Health (2023), "Avian Influenza."
  6. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (27 June 2023), "2022-2023 Detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds."
  7. Leah Douglas, Reuters (23 June 2023), "US to spend $502 million on future bird flu response."
  8. Wageningen University & Research (5 April 2022), "Five questions on avian influenza and (domestic) animals."
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The Pledge:

Avian flu, also known as avian influenza, poses a threat to pets and humans alike. It is primarily a viral disease that affects birds, but recent cases have raised concerns about its transmission to pets, particularly cats. To protect our beloved pets and prevent the spread of avian flu, I pledge to take the following actions:

  1. Limit Exposure: I will avoid allowing my pets, especially cats, to come into direct contact with birds, especially wild birds and poultry. This will minimize the risk of transmission.
  2. Practice Good Hygiene: I will diligently wash my hands with soap and water after handling birds, cleaning litter boxes, or disposing of bird carcasses or waste. Good hygiene reduces the chances of spreading the virus.
  3. Vaccination: I will consult with my veterinarian about available vaccines and consider vaccinating my pets against avian flu if recommended in my area. Vaccination can provide an additional layer of protection.
  4. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: I will ensure that my pets receive regular veterinary check-ups to monitor their overall health and detect any signs of illness early on.
  5. Isolate Sick Pets: If my pets show any signs of illness, such as respiratory distress, lethargy, or loss of appetite, I will isolate them from other pets and seek immediate veterinary care. This will prevent the spread of the disease within the household.
  6. Follow Safe Feeding Practices: I will feed my pets commercial pet food and avoid giving them raw or undercooked poultry products. This reduces the risk of exposure to the virus.
  7. Educate Myself: I will stay informed about avian flu and its impact on pets by following reliable sources of information such as local health authorities, veterinary associations, and reputable organizations.
  8. Support Animal Shelters: I will contribute to shelters in need through donations to GreaterGood and partnering organizations. By providing shelter animals with some of the resources they need, I can help them feel comfortable and stay healthy.
  9. Spread Awareness: I will share information about avian flu and preventive measures with fellow pet owners, friends, and family. Increasing awareness can help protect more pets and prevent the spread of the disease.
  10. Adhere to Local Guidelines: I will follow and comply with local guidelines and recommendations provided by public health authorities and veterinary professionals regarding avian flu and its impact on pets.

By taking these actions, we can collectively ensure a safer, healthier world for all. Our commitment to protecting our pets and preventing the spread of avian flu will not only safeguard the well-being of our furry companions but also contribute to the overall health and safety of our communities. Let us pledge to do our part and make a positive impact in the fight against avian flu.

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