Cat in Park City has the swine flu |

Cat in Park City has the swine flu

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A 14-year-old black cat in Park City has contracted the swine flu, a veterinarian told The Park Record Friday.

The owner of the domestic shorthair had suffered a bout of the H1N1 flu before taking the sick cat to Park City Animal Clinic Nov. 6, said Dr. Carl Prior, a veterinarian at the animal hospital in Prospector.

"We thought it was H1N1, but now we’re 100 percent sure," Prior said in a telephone interview.

The cat showed symptoms similar to a housecat in Iowa that doctors have confirmed had the swine flu, he explained.

"The cat came in with difficulty breathing and it had some upper respiratory problems," Prior said. "It almost died. Without treatment, this cat would have passed away."

A hospital test had confirmed the cat had influenza, Prior said.

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"With the history, where the owner was diagnosed with H1N1, I thought this cat had H1N1," said Prior, who worked this week with doctors at Iowa State University who helped diagnose the cat in the Midwest with the swine flu.

Prior said the case surprised him.

"It’s going to be kind of crazy if these things can jump between people and animals and animals and people. I’m a little bit worried about the ramifications of it," Prior said. "If animals are really getting this and it is becoming more common, you’re going to have to treat pets like you would a person, washing your hands, isolating sick animals and keeping the pets away from the owners and the owners away from the pets."

Before Friday, the cat in Iowa was the only reported case of a cat confirmed to have caught the H1N1 flu, said David Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Four ferrets in Oregon had tested positive this week and were recovering from the H1N1 flu, according to Kirkpatrick.

"The big animals we’re concerned about are going to be the ferrets, birds, pigs and now we’re seeing a few cases with the cats," Prior said. "I haven’t seen any dogs that have tested positive for it."

The cat in Park City has nearly recovered from the swine flu, he said, adding that another cat in the home was isolated from the sick pet.

Several illnesses called zoonotic diseases can transfer between humans and animals.

"I just don’t think we know the extent of how things transmit," Prior said. "If someone is sick or has a sick pet, we need to be more careful. People can get sick from pets and pets can get sick from people."