A cat in Thermopolis, Wyoming, tested positive for the H5N1 virus after chewing on infected poultry.
Local health officials confirmed on Saturday that the cat contracted the highly pathogenic bird flu after eating a bird. This is one of the first cases of a cat infected with bird flu in the US, according to the Cowboy State Daily.
The Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory told the outlet that the barn cat most likely became infected after eating wild waterfowl.
“This is the first report of HPAI (highly pathogenic bird flu) in a domestic https://bluecrabfestivalpalatka.com/ cat in Wyoming, and it was likely infected by ingesting meat from a wild waterfowl,” the lab said.
Two other cases of cats testing positive for H5N1 were reported in Nebraska, the laboratory’s virology supervisor, Dr. Myrna Miller, told BNO News.
Both cats were reported dead in January after contracting the virus, possibly from predation by wild birds, according to Dr. Sarah Sillman, of the University of Nebraska Center for Animal Diagnostics.
In a case report, Sillman noted that the first cat died after a “rapid decline” in health and suffered a variety of symptoms, including fever, tremors, weight loss, seizures, and loss of proprioception. Another cat, living in the same household, developed symptoms not long after the first cat exhibited the condition.
Another cat in the household was asymptomatic and tested negative for H5N1.
“Keeping cats indoors to prevent contact with wild birds – especially given the context of the current HPAI outbreak – and avoiding feeding raw poultry are recommendations for minimizing the risk of H5N1 infection,” Sillman wrote.
No bird flu vaccine is currently available in the US. John R. Clifford, animal trade policy adviser for the US Poultry & Egg Export Council, acknowledged that an approved vaccine that is compatible with the virus is not yet available.
“For one thing, we do not yet have an approved vaccine that is compatible with the virus. In reality, biosecurity is the best weapon we have against this,” said Clifford, as quoted by WYATPPoultry.com.
In related news, a pet dog in Canada recently died of bird flu after chomping on a wild goose. Experts say cases are rare because only a small number of domestic dogs and cats have contracted bird flu worldwide.
Health workers pack dead chickens into trash at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong December 31, 2014. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu