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September 04, 2019

The truth on whether our pets can catch our colds and flu. And vice versa.

The truth on whether our pets can catch our colds and flu. And vice versa.
Dr. Chris Brown
by DR. CHRIS BROWN

We share just about everything with the four legged family. So naturally, there’s one question that always pops up at this time of year. Lots of you want to know if our pets can catch our colds and flu’s. And…if we can catch theirs?!

It’s little wonder it’s a hot topic. We’re right in the middle of flu season and all too often our pets end up with coughs and sniffles at EXACTLY the same time as we do. Coincidence?!

But in the end, cold and flu bugs are like food bowls and hairbrushes. We’ve got ours and (thankfully) they’ve got theirs. And it’s unlikely they’ll ever cross over. Almost all the rhinoviruses (common cold) and influenza (the flu) viruses have something called ‘host specificity’. They can attack the species they know and love but struggle to infect any others. It’s only in the extreme, one in a million cases where they mutate (like swine flu did a few years ago) that they can cross over and infect a species other than their own.

So don’t stress, that occasional lick won’t give you dog flu or cat flu. Your pet is only prescribing a heavy dose of love and affection…

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