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Stormy the ferret dies from H1N1
November 4, 2009 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Stormy the ferret has died. While the video accompanying that report claims dogs and cats are safe from H1N1 the Iowa Department of Public Health says otherwise. A cat in Iowa is confirmed with swine flu. Turkeys and pigs have also gotten it. The USDA is now releasing confirmed and presumptive cases in domestic animals (PDF).
posted by cjorgensen (44 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy crap, that's scary news.
posted by misha at 6:41 PM on November 4, 2009


Shit.

The battery on my Roomba went flat. Should I be worried?
posted by qvantamon at 6:49 PM on November 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


It didn't even kill that cat.

Quit panicking already.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:54 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:02 PM on November 4, 2009 [12 favorites]


Sys Rq: "It didn't even kill that cat."

MY GOD! THE MONSTER IS UNKILLABLE!

Wait... what am I supposed to be not panicking about?
posted by Joe Beese at 7:04 PM on November 4, 2009 [7 favorites]


H1N1 is getting drastically over-hyped. To put things in perspective, diarrhea has killed over 30x more people worldwide than swine flu.

I'll save my panic for when H5N1 comes a'knockin.
posted by mullingitover at 7:11 PM on November 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can trees get it? Because I have some seedlings in the front yard, and there's some weird fungus growing around their teeny-tiny trunks. I've come to love them over the past 3 years or so, but should I torch them for the good for the city?
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:12 PM on November 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Can pigs get it?
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:20 PM on November 4, 2009


Sorry, that was intended to be a dumb joke, but I totally skimmed over the word "pigs" in the OP. I am a jerk-off.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:21 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do they make little surgical face masks for cats? (Not that my cat would wear one anyway, nor would I survive if I tried to make her.)
posted by autoclavicle at 7:22 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Birds get it. Bees get it. Even educated fleas get it.
posted by unSane at 7:23 PM on November 4, 2009 [11 favorites]


It's dumb, but I still kinda love how the 4-H kids gave H1N1 to the pigs at the Minnesota State Fair, back when we were still calling it swine flu.
posted by autoclavicle at 7:27 PM on November 4, 2009


Well, they started it.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:35 PM on November 4, 2009


Not to catch the flu from swine; that is the Law. Are we not Men?

The House of Pain is gone, said I.

It will come again.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:38 PM on November 4, 2009


The center for emergent doctors (or agency or organization or whatever they call it) has advised calling it swine flu, since H1N1 isn't scary enough! People don't listen to advice about covering their coughs or washing their hands more than they did before unless you mention swine flu.

> Wait... what am I supposed to be not panicking about?

You're not. You're supposed to point out this is news of the weird! A ferret has died!
posted by cjorgensen at 7:39 PM on November 4, 2009


More seriously, isn't this how strains of influenza mutate to begin with? I don't know that I've actually seen a domestic animal with the flu, but do we not somehow pass the virus back to domestic livestock, it adapts in the population of affected animals, and they pass it back to us in its new and improved form?

That's probably an oversimplified (IANAD) version of events, I may be skipping some steps in there, but I was under the impression that's how we end up with pig'n'bird flu to begin with.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:42 PM on November 4, 2009


.

That's sad. We had a pet ferret when I was a teenager that was best friends with our Basset Hound. They're wonderful pets.
posted by smoothvirus at 7:49 PM on November 4, 2009


We've had several teens here at the high school with H1N1 and all of them recovered. It's a nasty strain, though, that leaves you on your back and weak for days.

I do think it's scary that domestic animals, especially cats, can become infected, because normally humans and cats do not get the same diseases, which suggests to me that this strain mutates in an unique manner.
posted by misha at 7:49 PM on November 4, 2009


H1N1 is getting drastically over-hyped. To put things in perspective, diarrhea has killed over 30x more people worldwide than swine flu.-- mullingitover

It is not what H1N1 has done that worries people, it is what it might do. If domestic pets can catch it, then that makes it all that much easier to spread, and it seems to be spreading easily. Most of the diseases on your list are non-existent or are well controlled in areas that have the money or will to do so (and yes, it is a shame we are not doing more in those areas that don't have the resources). But this is different. The fear is that your 30x number would turn into 1/30th.

Probably won't happen, but what if it does? That's the fear.
posted by eye of newt at 7:50 PM on November 4, 2009


While we may say H1N1 is overhyped and blown out of proportion, I thought the scary aspect of this virus is that it is transmitted from humans to swine (and now, apparently, other animals), which is something, if not entirely new, pretty ominous, considering how these diseases can mutate into something more deadly in future flu seasons.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:51 PM on November 4, 2009


I love how when swine flu first came out - the cool kids were all saying "It will never spread. anyway lightning kills more people evey second than swine flue ever has".

then it began to spread and the hipsters went "It will never jump species. Anyway, shoe polish causes more deaths every 2 minutes than swine flu ever has."

Now its jumping species lines, and the would-be stoic hipsters say "The black death killed more people in history than this flu ever will. Im saving my panic for when im actually sick and its too late to do anyhting about it."
posted by HalfJack at 8:08 PM on November 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


This sucks. The one thing that makes the flu bearable is the kitty pile during nyquil-induce flu sleep. Now to have to banish them from the bed, that's just not fair.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:14 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


pretty sure no one here has said any of those things Halfjack.
posted by edgeways at 8:14 PM on November 4, 2009


Oh i know. Im not talking about anyone here. It was a non-sensical satire of all the internet tough guys one finds on other forums. Sorry, i should have clarified.
posted by HalfJack at 8:26 PM on November 4, 2009


NARRATOR
30 hipsters agree:


30 young hipsters standing in a field look up to the camera.

HIPSTERS
(all together)
Tight jeans kill more people than swine flu.

HIPSTER WITH EMO SWEEP
My friend passed out in the tub once so we filled it with water.

HIPSTER WITH AMISH BEARD
The next morning we found him dead. They said the jeans constricted and cut off his circulation.

GIRL IN TIGHT BLACK JEANS
I like tight jeans, but not that tight.

NARRATOR
30 hipsters agree: Tight jeans kill more people than swine flu.

posted by stavrogin at 8:47 PM on November 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


The worst part about this is that it provides a reservoir where the virus can percolate around and mutate once everyone is immune to the strain that's out now, and where it can potentially combine with other viruses. Not good news.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:11 PM on November 4, 2009


We had a pet ferret when I was a teenager that was best friends with our Basset Hound. They're wonderful pets.

What? No they're not. They're not affectionate, they steal your shit (socks, keys, remote controls, cell phones, whatever) and hide it in annoying and inaccessible places, and they stink. They're terrible pets. I don't believe you've actually ever had a ferret.
posted by dersins at 9:40 PM on November 4, 2009


I hated my sister's ferrets for the reasons you did, but I'm going to have to disagree. One in particular would follow you around until you stopped or sat. It would stare at you and if you looked back, it would try to climb your leg to hang out with you. It was my favorite.
posted by june made him a gemini at 10:17 PM on November 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


What? No they're not. They're not affectionate, they steal your shit

Obviously not suited to your temperament, dersins.

That ferrets get H1N1 comes as no surprise though, since ferrets have been used as test subjects for influenza for a long time. The first mention of testing H1N1 in ferrets came a few days after the initial outbreak. Sadly, I can't find the original interview -- the crush of info noise on any swine flu topic is pretty overwhelming. Never expected cats, though.
posted by sundri at 12:06 AM on November 5, 2009


note to self: don't post within the first 10minutes of waking up.
the first sentence should read:
That ferrets get H1N1 comes as no surprise, though, since ferrets get influenza normally. Ferrets have been used as test subjects for influenza for a long time.
posted by sundri at 12:40 AM on November 5, 2009


H5N1 = not easily transmitted, has a good chance of killing you if you catch it.

H1N1 = apparently really easy to get and fond of jumping across species, much less likely to kill you.

The fun begins when H5N1 and H1N1 meet up and swap DNA sequences.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:20 AM on November 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


longdaysjourney: the cdc is testing that, in ferrets :)
posted by sundri at 1:59 AM on November 5, 2009


As long as bacon doesn't get it because bacon cures all.

Bad day
Bad sex
Bad relationships
Bad investments

Eat bacon and life good.
posted by stormpooper at 6:42 AM on November 5, 2009


Thanks for the link, sundri. Good to know the CDC is worried about this. I have to say if H5N1/H1N1 reassortment ever does occur, that panic will make the one over swine flu look like a day in the park.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:01 AM on November 5, 2009


I don't consider this news of the weird at all cjorgensen.

I own three ferrets and will take their ability to catch the flu into account this flu season. I would rather not kill my pets inadvertently due to my own negligence.

I'm sorry some of you have had such bad experiences with ferrets. I've had 4 over the past 8 years and they've all been a lovable mix of kitten and puppy temperaments who cuddle and show tons of personality. They are what you teach them.
posted by Constant Reader at 7:31 AM on November 5, 2009


As of now, H1N1 is no longer hip. All the cool kids are catching H5N1. It is truly the new black.

That said, the H5N1 thing does sound really scary. People who have been giving the anti-vaxers a voice in the interest of being "fair and balanced" should be bringing up the new info on the potential for H5N1 to mix with H1N1. H1N1 may just be a slightly stronger flu, but the smart money seems to be on getting the vaccine now. If they mix (which is more likely if people don't get vaccinated), there will be such a rush on the vaccine that it'll be hard to even maintain order.

What really sucks is that if things go the right way (enough people get vaccinated that the US and other nations gain herd immunity), the armchair skeptics will get the attitude that swine flu was "no big deal, and the government got everyone in a huff over nothing." The same thing happened with Y2K and the ozone layer depletion, even though what really happened was a concerted effort from people and governments to fight the major public problems. There were big issues, but people worked hard to fix them. The hype had merit, it's just that it lead to people having the wrong reactions (ie hoarding for Y2K when upgrading software was the much better precaution), and the media often played up the wrong aspects (IE acting like it was almost certain infrastructure would go down after Y2K).
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:43 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree wtith Constant Reader regarding ferrets. They are wonderful and fun and they dont' stink (mine didn't). The only thing I didn't like about them and wouldn't get them again is that they are so curious that they can hide in small places like under a stove, etc. and I wouldn't want that worry.
posted by stormpooper at 7:45 AM on November 5, 2009


I had a ferret for many years when I was younger and less mature. I know I didn't do it justice as a pet owner during its life, and that's an eternal weight hanging upon my soul. But he was the greatest little pet of all -- affectionate, eager to play, didn't stink (smelled strongly of dark honey, if anything), loved people, loved car trips, loved going to playgroup with his ferret friends...

I've often thought about getting another ferret, but have not because I don't want to endure the litter training ritual again, which was long and painful for both me and my ferret. And complicated by my frequent moves while I owned him, so there was little in the way of consistent location cues for him re: his litter box.

Reading that they can get H1N1 and die from it is just heartbreaking. I remember when my ferret died oh so clearly, and it was heartbreaking in a way no other pet's death has been. I feel for the pet owners who find their animals are sick with this flu, and I hope they all come through it without any complications more serious than mucus and sniffles.
posted by hippybear at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Reading that they can get H1N1 and die from it is just heartbreaking

Yeah, I hate the idea of them getting it -- hate it more if I have flu while they do and can't attend to keeping them hydrated. Hate it even more now that 2 of my 4 are on prednisone -- an immuno-suppressant. And I work in a school...so. I want my vaccine now please.
posted by sundri at 8:35 AM on November 5, 2009


Add me to the list of former ferret owners who's sad (but not surprised) about Stormy, and of cat owners who are worried about the flu jumping to cats.

Domestic ferrets are already banned so many places for reasons that make little sense, like the idea that they'll collectively take over and drive out native species when the truth is they're not likely to make it more than 48 hours without being eaten by a predator they're too friendly and dumb to hide from. (Not to mention that other than the instinct to nip toes, most of them don't understand that food comes from anywhere other than the food bowl.) It'll be a shame if "flu vector" turns out to be the next reason to ban them.
posted by immlass at 9:01 AM on November 5, 2009


Constant Reader, the news of the weird comment was a dig on another post I did. I honestly didn't know if this post would survive. In the grand scheme of things we're talking two ferrets and a cat getting H1N1 (from that CDC link). Considering how many cats there are out there, this isn't going to be my greatest concern.

I figured some people might see the post as fear mongering (which some did), but do a search for h1n1 and you can get totally overwhelmed. I just found it interesting that one the day a ferret dies in Nebraska they announced a cat recovering from it in Iowa.

I didn't want to make the post be a big referendum on h1n1 and what it should be called, or if animals owners should really be that afraid, etc.

I have a cat, and lived with someone that had ferrets (like people they don't stink if you bathe them regularly).

For the most part, this is a non-story unless it becomes common, but this is how I feel about h1n1 as well, and that is all over the place.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:19 AM on November 5, 2009


that was...... pretty awesome, stavrogin. Made my morning.
posted by HalfJack at 11:44 AM on November 5, 2009


We need Kodo and Podo to kick H1N1's ass or at least steal some vaccines.
posted by stormpooper at 12:04 PM on November 5, 2009


Wall Street bankers at front of queue for scarce swine flu vaccine
posted by homunculus at 3:14 PM on November 6, 2009


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