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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Veterinarians Can Participate in Research

October 15th, 2012

Christiane Loehr, associate professor and pathologist in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is conducting research to study reverse zoonosis. She wants to know how often humans transmit flu to their pets and how that impacts the animals.

Loehr thinks infections may be underreported because pets exhibiting flu symptoms are often diagnosed with more common respiratory diseases such as bordetella, calicivirus, herpesvirus, and kennel cough. It is also difficult to diagnose the flu in pets when the infection occurs outside of the typical flu season because it isn’t something a lot of veterinarians are watching for, Loehr said. She is encouraging veterinarians to participate in her research by preserving and submitting samples from patients they suspect of having flu.

Veterinarians who encounter patients suspected of having the flu can assist Loehr and her fellow researchers by taking time to preserve and submit samples, she said.

“Funding of diseases in pets is limited and hard to come by, so the more we can do within the limitations of routine diagnostic work-ups the better,” Loehr said. “So submission of samples to labs involved in the research will not only facilitate diagnosis, but of course tremendously improve access to data and samples for further analysis.”

Loehr also notes that veterinarians can educate clients and provide prevention information. She recommended that veterinarians give advice to clients that is similar to advice physicians would offer to flu patients, such as limit contact of sick people in the household with pets and have flu sufferers wear a mask.

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