Small chance that your pet will get bird flu, but this way you can still stay alert | Animals

Small chance that your pet will get bird flu, but this way you can still stay alert | Animals
Small chance that your pet will get bird flu, but this way you can still stay alert | Animals

Health organization WHO recently called the bird flu virus a pandemic among animals. The outbreak is mainly in other countries: in the Netherlands, the housing obligation has largely been withdrawn. But people sometimes worry whether pets can also become infected. What’s up with that?

De vogelgriep kan heel soms worden overgedragen op honden en katten. Dat gebeurt als zo’n dier in contact komt met een zieke of dode vogel die besmet is met vogelgriep.

“In principe is de kans heel klein dat honden en katten vogelgriep krijgen van wilde vogels in Nederland”, zegt viroloog Thijs Kuiken van het Erasmus MC in Rotterdam tegen “Het zijn vooral watervogels die besmet zijn. Ook is er nu in Nederland minder kans dat een gevonden dode vogel het virus bij zich draagt dan eerdere jaren.”

Ontvang meldingen bij nieuws over de vogelgriep Stay informed with notifications

But the chance is there. What measures can you take as an animal owner to prevent contamination?

“If you are in an area where bird flu is prevalent among wild birds, the advice is to keep your cat indoors,” says Kuiken. Dogs can go outside, but on a leash. Because mainly water birds are infected, you must pay particular attention along the beach. On this interactive map you can see in which areas in Europe, but also in the Netherlands, birds are infected.

“Do not let your animal sniff birds or carcasses,” says Daniëlla van Gennep of animal aid organization Stichting DierenLot. “And if your dog or cat has flu or cold symptoms, see a doctor.”

Wat zijn de symptomen van vogelgriep bij een hond of kat?

  • Koorts
  • Hijgen, benauwdheid
  • Sloomheid
  • Oogontsteking
  • Loopneus
  • Rode ogen
  • Slijmerige afscheiding uit neus of ogen
  • Zenuwverschijnselen, zoals trillen of wankel lopen

Stay alert, despite a small risk of contamination

It is important to remain alert, both experts emphasize. “It is an ecological disaster, and it should be treated that way in the Netherlands,” Van Gennep warns. “We also advise animal rescuers who deal with bird flu in the field to wear protective clothing.” After all, this is how we also deal with other viruses.

Kuiken also advises to remain attentive. “Since the end of 2020, the spread of the bird flu virus has changed. Before then, it only occurred in autumn and winter, but since then it has adapted to wild birds.” The virus now circulates all year round.

“But the number of wild birds that die from it is quite small. Then the general public registers it less, because it does not seem so present,” says Kuiken. But it can always lead to a larger outbreak. “It is good to remain alert to this. Is there an outbreak among wild birds? Then there is also a greater chance of an outbreak to other animals.”

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Small chance pet bird flu stay alert Animals


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