ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Omega-3 May Safely Treat Precancerous Bowel Polyps
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Antioxidant-Rich Foods Lose Nutritional Luster Over Time
Coffee Drinking Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
EYE CARE, VISION
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
The Unmedicated Mind
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Add your Article

Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe

(HealthDay News) -- When the news broke on Wednesday that a domestic cat had come down with H1N1 swine flu, probably transmitted to the feline by sick owners, many people no doubt wondered how vulnerable their own pets were to the illness.

So, does Fluffy or Fido need protecting from this strain of flu? The answer, experts say, is basically no.

While the H1N1 flu currently circulating can jump easily from person to person, it does not travel well from humans to animals or animals to humans, except in a few rare instances.

"This really is not a practical issue at this point," said Dr. Chris Olsen, a professor of public health and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. "Is that to say it's not possible? No."

And even when inter-species transmissions do occur, the H1N1 virus seems more likely to move from humans to animals, rather than the other way around.

As reported Wednesday by the Associated Press, veterinarians at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine announced the first laboratory-confirmed case of H1N1 infection in a cat. Veterinarian Dr. Brett Sponseller said two of three people who lived in the house with the 13-year-old feline had shown flu-like symptoms before the animal became ill. The cat was treated and has since recovered, the AP said.

Olsen said there have also been reports of the virus crossing from humans to livestock -- in particular pigs and turkeys and mostly in agricultural settings.

There have been instances "where the current pandemic virus has been isolated from pigs [the first identified at the Minnesota state fair in August], and [some] instances from turkeys. But, in all of those cases, it's quite clear that the person was the source of infection for the animals, not the other way around," Olsen said.

Several cases of pig-to-human and human-to-pig transmission of the seasonal flu have been documented but it's mostly in agricultural settings, added Dr. John Treanor, director of the infectious diseases division at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that it had detected H1N1 in a commercial herd of pigs in Indiana, the AP reported. Again, both the pigs and the humans caring for them recovered from the flu, the news agency said.

According to Olsen, the livestock industry already has elaborate biosecurity precautions in place -- everything from asking about workers' health, to protective clothing, to having employees shower before entering or leaving a facility.

Although it's called the swine flu, the H1N1 virus is no longer really a pig virus. "This has been a human-adapted virus since we first recognized it in the early spring of this year," Olsen said, adding, "You absolutely cannot get it from what you eat."

And dog and cat owners don't need to take any extra precautions when it comes to the H1N1 flu, even though there have been instances of animals contracting, and sometimes even passing on, the regular seasonal flu.

Ferrets, for instance, are generally susceptible to the seasonal flu, and the AP reported Wednesday that H1N1 infection has been confirmed in two ferrets, one in Nebraska and the other in Oregon.

"Not only can they be infected with the flu but they are clearly able to transmit the flu back to people," Treanor said. "This is how flu viruses were first discovered. They [researchers] were looking at what the cause of flu would be, back in England in the 1930s, and noticed when they infected ferrets with material from the flu lab, workers got the flu from the ferrets. That led to the discovery of the influenza as the cause of flu."

Olsen added: "There are also reports of the human influenza virus going from people to dogs but this is, again, a rare occurrence."

Dogs can get something called the canine influenza virus, but that "has adapted itself to dogs and really is a dog pathogen at this point," Olsen said. It originally came from horses and mainly affects canines in an animal shelter.

Similarly, a recently developed dog flu vaccine has nothing to do with H1N1, said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a professor in the department of small animal clinical sciences at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. "It's for a totally separate disease. It's not something people get."

"Our concern is transmission from human-to-human but we do need to protect pigs [and turkeys]," she said.

"Each animal tends to get its own kind of flu," Treanor said.

SOURCES: Chris Olsen, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor, public health, and associate dean, academic affairs, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, Madison; John Treanor, M.D., professor, medicine, and director, infectious diseases division, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; Bonnie V. Beaver, D.V.M., professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station; Associated Press