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Flu in Ferrets

It’s flu season!!

ferret-fluDid you know that ferrets can contract the flu from people?

Most viruses in nature are species specific – meaning that they will only target a select species. For example the feline herpes virus that causes upper respiratory tract infections in cats will only affect cats and cannot affect people.  However, from time to time nature likes to make an exception to its own rules.

There are several strains of the human influenza virus that can infect ferrets.   As in people, it is transmitted in aerosolized droplets from sneezing, coughing and saliva.  The virus can spread people to ferret, ferret to ferret and ferret to people!  Signs in ferrets are similar to those in people – sneezing, watery eyes, nasal discharge and often a fever within 48 hours of contact with the virus.  Ferrets that are more severely affected can also develop lethargy, conjunctivitis (inflamed eyes), diarrhea and inappetance.

So… if you think you might have the flu protect your little four footed friend as well as your family members with regular hand washing. As always don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns.

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