Swine Flu And Pets

Dear Liz,

We know swine flu can affect pigs and people… but should I be concerned about my dog and cat becoming ill?



Dear Sniffles – Let’s look at the Swine Flu in general.

The Swine Flu starts with pigs. It’s actually common to have these outbreaks involving pigs during the colder months. The pigs become ill and one spreads it to another – much like people during “flu season”.

Now, pigs can transmit the flu to other pigs, as well as to humans which is what is in the news now. Normally the transmission from pig to people happens as a result of direct contact by a person to a sick pig.

Then that person can transmit the swine flu to another person, again through direct contact, etc., and on and on.

The swine flu, the avian flu, as well as the human flu, can be transmitted to pigs. What happens then is that the flu viruses can mix DNA and a different flu can be the result.

Now, as to whether or not your dog or cat can be infected with the swine flu is a mystery, at least to everyone I’ve asked. I can’t find any literature on the swine flu being spread to dogs or cats and my veterinarian can’t answer that, either.

I am going to keep an eye on the Center for Disease Control website to make sure I’m well informed, though. I’d suggest you do, too, so that we have no misconceptions. Their web site is CDC – Influenza (Flu) | Swine Influenza (Flu): General Information.

Wish I had better information for you. I guess that if we haven’t heard from the experts that it CAN be transmitted, it’s safe to say it probably can’t. I’d still go with the over-all consensus, though, and keep your pets away from animals that you know are ill. Keep your pets up to date on their vaccinations and always check with your veterinarian if your animal becomes ill.


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