Sunday, December 6, 2009

h1n1 and the Ferret

      December 7 1941 is known for the sneak attack by Japanese bombers on Pearl Harbor. We watch and listen about the history of the day. We learn about the thousands of service men caught unaware and the end result.

     What does the attack on Pearl Harbor have to do with ferrets? The answer is nothing unless you are taking into account that ferret owners can be caught unaware of things. An article in Earthtimes caught my attention.

     We are all aware of the swine flu or it’s official name h1n1. We know that it affects humans in different ways and that some of us are more susceptible to it than others. The reason the article caught my attention was the fact that it was about ferrets that had been diagnosed with this pandemic virus.

     With this development those that own or care for ferrets should be on alert for any changes in their fur kids that might signal a trip to the vet’s office. A ferret with an immune deficiency should be taken just to be on the safe side.

     Ferrets are capable of getting the flu from us and are able to give it back.

     Owners and ferret caregivers should take precautions to limit exposure to the h1n1 or regular flu virus. These include wearing a mask if there is no one else that can take care of your babies. Washing your hands before and after contact with any ferret, not just your own. Many dollar stores have small travel size hand sanitizers in a three pack. It's easy to have one in your purse or pocket.

     If you notice flu like symptoms in a ferret watch to make sure they are eating and drinking. A ferret that doesn’t drink is likely to die from dehydration. The article did say that the ferrets that had the h1n1 survived. However, it must be noted that these ferrets needed veterinary care.

   By being vigilant and noticing any changes in our fur children we won't be caught unaware.


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