Experts: N.Y. Dog Is First in Nation With H1N1

Experts say a dog in suburban New York is the nation's first confirmed to be carrying the same strain of swine flu that is infecting humans.

American Veterinary Medical Association spokesman Michael San Filippo said Tuesday that the diagnosis of the 2009 H1N1 virus was confirmed at two labs.

The 13-year-old mixed-breed male is recovering. He was taken to the Katonah Bedford Veterinary Center in Bedford Hills on Dec. 13.

Medical Director David Sachs says he had the dog tested for swine flu because its owner previously had the virus.

Animals can carry and spread flu viruses, but Dr. Anne Schuchat of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says "this is not a reason to be concerned" because these cases are rare.


— The signs of 2009 H1N1 infection in companion animals mimic many respiratory illnesses, according to Dr. Ann Hohenhaus of New York City’s Animal Medical Center. Those signs include lethargy, fever, difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing and nasal discharge.

— Hohenhaus also told that pet owners with symptoms of a flu-like illness should minimize contact with their pets. This includes covering coughs and sneezes as well frequent hand washing or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer around pets.

— Companion animals are catching H1N1 from people, not the other way around, Hohenhaus added. Currently, there is no evidence pets can transmit influenza to their owners.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.