Pet owners in Utah are concerned about avian flu.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) – A case of avian flu has been detected in a flock of Utah birds, according to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The discovery prompted residents to wonder if they should be concerned about the sickness spreading to cats and dogs.
There is no risk of your dog or cat contracting it, according to Utah veterinarian Dr. Dean Taylor.
Taking your dog for a walk in the park, according to Dr. Taylor, is entirely safe. However, pet owners who are concerned about their animals contracting the disease should have them vaccinated on a regular basis.
It's unhealthy to have alarmist reactions to things like this, Dr. Taylor said. However, if it causes people to go in and get their pets vaccinated who haven't been vaccinated, that's good because as you go to the park, you're going to have more exposure to other dogs in the park than you are to the birds.
Right now, backyard poultry is the most pressing concern. The avian flu is thought to have arrived in Utah via migrating ducks.
Dr. Taylor cautioned against feeding the ducks at the park and then feeding your chickens at home. You won't be able to detect whether a duck has the sickness, therefore you'll be able to pass it on to your hens. He also recommends preventing backyard chickens from running free for the time being.
This should not be a reason for folks to stay home and miss out on enjoying the spring weather with their dogs and family, Dr. Taylor added.