The Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory (WSVL) diagnosed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus in a barn cat near Thermopolis, WY. We know that wild birds, particularly water fowl, have been affected in large numbers by HPAI, but in recent months we have detected the virus in wild carnivorous mammals including mountain lions and a red fox.
This is the first report of HPAI in a domestic cat in Wyoming, and it likely became infected from ingesting meat from wild waterfowl.
Clinical signs for mammals include those that are associated with neurological signs including change in behavior, decrease in awareness of surroundings and loss of energy. These signs may be indistinguishable from an animal affected with rabies.
For testing of domestic species, we recommend your veterinarian submitting the whole carcass. Please contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept (WGFD) for disposal recommendations for any dead waterfowl your pets can access, or to report dead or sick wild carnivores. As the HPAI outbreak continues, please make sure that you are using gloves and masks when handling sick or dead mammals and birds. Report any sick wildlife to the WGFD through the online reporting tool at the link in the title.
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