• Discussions taking place within this forum are intended for the purpose of assisting you in discussing options with your vet. Any other use of advice given here is done so at your risk, is solely your responsibility and not that of this forum or its owner. Before posting it is your responsibility you abide by this Statement

Can pigs catch colds/flus from people?

Status
Not open for further replies.

CiaraPatricia

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
3,228
Reaction score
6
Points
0
My friend does work experience with a vet and she was telling me that someone brought in a guinea pig and the vet said it had caught a flu from the owner, and they had to put it to sleep anyway. :(

She did say she thought the vet could have done more, but the pig was very sick.

Is this really possible? I've heard of cats and dogs catching colds maybe, but that a pig would be that sick from it?

Or could it be something else like a URI, or would it be that the cold turned into a respiratory infection?

Poor piggy :(

By the way, my friend told me this as we were both holding my baby guinea pigs and I was sniffling cos I have a cold right now!
 

Sophie

Teenage Guinea Pig
Joined
May 21, 2010
Messages
571
Reaction score
6
Points
350
Location
Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Unfortunately yes they can and it normally turns into a respiratory infection or at worse pneumonia :( I'm not sure how likely it is they can catch it but I have the flu at the moment and have therefore been banned from the piggy room except to watch from afar whilst my mum feeds them :( but don't worry your sniffle won't harm them I think it's if you have a bad cold or flu and you are cuddling them alot then they can catch it. Just be careful :)
 

Cgilchrist

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
1,285
Reaction score
3
Points
460
Location
Staplehurst, Kent
I asked my piggie vet if they could and he said no? He also said that there aren't many viruses that effect guineas it usual goes straight to a infection. i.e if a piggie has sniffles it willl be an infection not a virus like we get. But he wasn't the main piggie expert so he could be wrong I will ask the super piggie savy vet and check. x:)
 

hellsbells82

Teenage Guinea Pig
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
708
Reaction score
0
Points
300
Location
Coventry
When I've read up on this before there doesn't appear to be any clear evidence for or against, but I'd say it's better to be careful, that being said both my kids get colds all the time, and whilst they don't touch the piggies, they are in the kitchen so in the middle of everything and colds etc are airbourne, and none of mine have ever been unwell at all.
 

Jacs

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 26, 2010
Messages
172
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Middlesbrough, North East
I was told by a vet that piggies can catch a human cold/flu and if you are ill it is just best to have as least contact to your piggies as possible. So thats all I if I get cold I tend to feed them if no one else can do it for me and thats it not have no other contact just to be on the safe side.
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2010
Messages
1,677
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Sheerness, Kent UK
My Gaga has the sniffles. What do I do? I cant afford a vet until I get paid. Shes eating well and pops out of her house for a wunder.
 

daftscotslass

Senior Guinea Pig
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
4,872
Reaction score
14
Points
0
Location
Stirlingshire, Scotland
Actually no, they can't catch colds or flu, those are viruses that affect only humans and animals closely related to humans e.g. primates.

Unfortunately with colds and flu also come bacterial chest infections and it's near impossible to tell the difference between what's causing it in humans. These are the things that piggies can catch, not the viruses.
 

CiaraPatricia

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
3,228
Reaction score
6
Points
0
My Gaga has the sniffles. What do I do? I cant afford a vet until I get paid. Shes eating well and pops out of her house for a wunder.

I guess keep her in a warm place and make sure she has lots of vitamin C rich veggies. But I know if she gets an infection they can be very serious. :(
 

CiaraPatricia

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
3,228
Reaction score
6
Points
0
Thanks guys, seems like there's differing opinions on it. I have a fairly bad cold, but not the flu, just a cold. After Christmas I had a very bad flu or virus of some kind, and I still fed my pigs, but that's all I had the energy for!
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2010
Messages
1,677
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Sheerness, Kent UK
She sounds chesty and is sneezing. But as I say shes eating extremly well. Ever since I gave her a bath on the weekend. But she was kept very warm and had lots of cuddles afterwards.
 

CiaraPatricia

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Apr 26, 2010
Messages
3,228
Reaction score
6
Points
0
She sounds chesty and is sneezing. But as I say shes eating extremly well. Ever since I gave her a bath on the weekend. But she was kept very warm and had lots of cuddles afterwards.

I don't mean to scare you, but if she is sounding chesty, it sounds like it should have some treatment. I don't really know much about it. Maybe if you make a new thread about it, people might see it. I hope she'll get better soon. It's good that she's eating well and is active and all anyway.
 

hellsbells82

Teenage Guinea Pig
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
708
Reaction score
0
Points
300
Location
Coventry
Actually no, they can't catch colds or flu, those are viruses that affect only humans and animals closely related to humans e.g. primates.

Unfortunately with colds and flu also come bacterial chest infections and it's near impossible to tell the difference between what's causing it in humans. These are the things that piggies can catch, not the viruses.

yes that's what I thought
 

Piggyologist

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Dec 22, 2010
Messages
330
Reaction score
5
Points
240
Location
London
In short: Yes, they do catch our cold and flu. (not going into detail of different types of bacteria they can and cannot catch as I know nothing about it - I was told by vets we shouldn't handle pigs when we have cold/flu as they can get ill easily and very quickly).
I'm not an expert, just repeating what I heard from a couple of experienced vets :)
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
491
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
South Africa
She sounds chesty and is sneezing. But as I say shes eating extremly well. Ever since I gave her a bath on the weekend. But she was kept very warm and had lots of cuddles afterwards.
If you have a good vet that knows you, he should look at her and sort the bill out later. I've had to ask my vet before if I could pay him on payday, and he always said its OK.
 

Teresa J

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
1,688
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Suffolk
Seems that there are differences of opinion this :{

Think as no one is completely certain the sensible thing to do if we have colds, flu, coughs or are generally unwell is not to cough, sneeze etc over our beloved piggies or cuddle them too close until we feel better.

Sensible hygiene rules ie:- handwashing before feeding, handling, cleaning etc should help keep our furry friends healthy................

Teresa xx
 

Pebble

Banned
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
3,030
Reaction score
1,489
Points
880
Location
Sussex
This topic has come up in 3 separate threads over the last few months......and as always there are different answers and confusion reigns...even amongst vets

So as someone who used to work on flu.....Here's my current take on it, answering some of the points already raised at the same time.

Firstly - there are not many bugs that can "jump" the species gap and infect one mammal just as well as humans and vice versa....(these are called zoonoses) Bugs that can jump the species gap from guineas to humans include ringworm - a fungus, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis - a bacterium, and cytomegalovirus/CMV b- a virus).

Flu virus that infects humans is normally considered to be species specific (although it can infect our nearest relatives such as primates)
However recently we have had bird flu and swine flu - a flu virus starting off in one species that mutates and can the jump the species gap and causes significant/bad effects in humans.

Cold viruses are diffent types of virus from flu (Rhinovirus/Picornavirus/Adenovirus) and these mutate easily but are considered less likely to be able to jump species.



Not much research\diagnostic work is done by vets on guinea pigs because of the costs to the owners...and the work on piggie viruses is even less than the work on bacterial infections...Currently in the literature the only recognised/acknowledged viral infection of guinea pigs causing respiratory symptoms is adenovirus..that doesn;t mean to say there aren;t others...just that there have been no tests done (viral tests for piggies aren;t available atm) or cases reported.

To date there has been no definitive paper reporting a guinea pig had actually caught a human strain of flu from it;s owner with all the necessary scientific evidence and tests to prove it....hence why, given all the above, a lot of vets will say it isn;t possible for a piggie to catch a human cold/flu

HOWEVER...there are scientific papers showing that it is possible for piggies to suffer from human strains of flu (Panama strain) in laboratory conditions when deliberately infected/exposed...and that the flu can pass from one piggie to another....and that the infection rate DEcreases as humidity increases (think about piggies in kitchen where air is more humid cf piggies elsewhere in the house where the central heating is drying out the air)

What I don;t know is how bigger dose of virus was necessary in order for the piggie to contract the disease in the first place. As with any infection in any species, clinical symptoms developing depends upon the size of the infective dose and the immune state of the individual concerned.

So my take on this is that it is definitely POSSIBLE for piggies to contract human flu (nor sure about human colds but piggies can get adenovirus so i personally wouldn;t take any chances).....and that it is therefore best to minimise contact/handling when you have a viral infection. Even if the piggie doesn;t show full blown syptoms...the biggest problem with respiratory virus infections (and the biggest reason why flu can kill people) is the secondary bacterial infections that can and do result from a compromised immune system caused by the initial virus infection


HTH

PS (for those of you that keep ferrets they are definitely susceptible to human flu)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top