Bird Flu and Pets - Common Myths Debunked

Bird Flu and Pets - Common Myths Debunked

The digital media has recently been flooded with news of the new outbreak of Avian Influenza a.k.a Bird Flu. This highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A has created havoc among people. Surviving covid and bird flu all at once is a big challenge. But before jumping to any random conclusions, we want you to continue reading about eye-opening facts regarding bird flu and your furry companions. 

What is Bird Flu/Avian Influenza?

As the name itself says, it's the flu (Influenza) which you will only encounter in birds (Avian).

This virus is naturally present in wild birds and during migration i.e., regular seasonal movement, the virus spreads among other animals through their defecation and in domesticated poultry.

The strain of the virus which we are currently facing is H5N1 and H5N8. It is considered highly pathogenic, contagious, and deadly in poultry birds but not in humans. 

This flu has not reported any cases in humans or our furry companions yet. But direct contact with infected birds can make them susceptible to the H5N1 virus. In previous outbreaks, we have seen humans and animals getting affected with the H5N1, though the virus does not transfer from humans to humans but it has reported a mortality rate of 60% according to WHO.

What does this virus do?

The virus affects the respiratory system, giving mild to acute symptoms of difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, pneumonia, respiratory failure, fever, cough, headache, muscle ache, sore throat, etc., can also be seen. 

The diagnosis of avian influenza cannot be done alone on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms. Proper testing in the laboratory is a must in case of bird flu.

What causes the infection of viruses in humans and pets?

Being in direct contact with wild birds or infected poultry causes the transmission of the virus in humans and other animals. Eating raw chicken or half-cooked chicken is the foremost reason when it comes to the transmission of bird flu to humans and pets.

What is the solution? Should pets stop eating chicken?

Your pets can eat chicken but only when it is fully and thoroughly cooked. The virus of the bird flu does not survive after exceeding a particular temperature because they are sensitive to heat. When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, the temperature easily passes the surviving value of the H5N1 virus which is 70 degrees celsius. 

So, only if you are having chicken that is completely cooked then only it is considered safe to be consumed by humans and pets. 

This is a basic hygienic practice that should be followed regularly while feeding your pets. 

Giving them raw meat exposes them to many parasites and viruses. Hence, it is always recommended by vets to feed your pets properly boiled meat only. The same practice should be followed with eggs also. Feeding them raw eggs again makes them host for a variety of diseases. Therefore, opt for boiled and fully cooked eggs, as suggested by your vet.

Is commercial chicken food good for pets?

Yes! Commercial chicken food is prepared at a high temperature which is more than enough to kill the virus. Hence, giving them commercial food is not harmful and does not put them at any risk of contracting bird flu.

Follow this protective measure to keep your pets safe, when it comes to Avian Influenza:

  • Always feed your pets fully cooked/boiled meat and eggs. Avoid raw meat or eggs.

Although cases are now decreasing, it is still necessary to keep yourself & your pets protected. If you still need further information on bird flu, reach out to our in-house vets on

+91 8431620000 & we will be happy to help you!  

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