Avian flu in Utah causes worry in pet owners
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food recently confirmed a case of avian flu in a flock of Utah birds. The finding raised the question of whether residents should worry about the disease spreading to cats and dogs.
According to Utah veterinarian Dr. Dean Taylor, there is no risk of your dog or cat getting it.
Dr. Taylor said that it is completely safe to take your dog out for a walk at the park. That said, pet owners who are concerned about their animals catching the disease should regularly get vaccinations.
“It’s unhealthy to have kind of alarmists reactions to things like this, if it causes people to go in and get pets vaccinated who has not been vaccinated that’s good just because as you go to the park you’re gonna have more exposure to other dogs in the park than you are from the birds,” said Dr. Taylor.
The biggest concern right now is backyard poultry. It is suspected that the avian flu came to Utah through migrating waterfowl.
Dr. Taylor advised not to feed the ducks at the park and then go home and feed your chickens. Because you won’t be able to tell if a duck actually has the disease, you can transfer the disease to your chickens. He also suggests keeping backyard chickens from roaming free right now.
“This is not something that should cause people to stay inside and not go out and enjoy the spring weather with their pets and families,” said Dr. Taylor.