Bird flu is practically the avian version of the common cold. It’s a real “fowl” disease that can make birds feel as “caged” as a canary in a coal mine. But, you may be wondering, can other animals catch bird flu as well? The short answer is yes, but it’s not as common as you might think.
The main animal species that can catch bird flu are, you guessed it, birds! Ducks, chickens, turkeys, geese, and even the occasional ostrich have all been known to catch bird flu. They can spread it to one another through their feathers, feces, and even their saliva.
But birds aren’t the only ones who can catch this “fowl” disease, other animal species like cats, dogs, and even humans can also contract bird flu, but it’s extremely rare. It’s like winning the lottery, but instead of getting rich, you get a bad case of the flu.
Three grizzly bears got bird flu in Montana
Three grizzly bears from the American state of Montana were found positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus after they became ill, according to CNN. As a result, the authorities decided to euthanize the animals to prevent the spread.
Dr. Jennifer Ramsey, a wildlife veterinarian, stated as the same publication quotes:
When wildlife mortalities occur in such small numbers or individuals, and in species like skunks, foxes and bears that don’t spend a lot of time in situations where they are highly visible to the public, they can be hard to detect,
When a large number of birds are found dead on a body of water, it gets noticed and reported… when someone sees a dead skunk, they may think nothing of it and not report it.
The symptoms of bird flu, also known as avian influenza, can vary depending on the strain. Common symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, muscle aches, eye infections, pneumonia, difficulty breathing, severe respiratory illness, and even death. In poultry, symptoms can include swelling of the head, eyes, comb, wattle, and hocks, blue comb and wattle, a drop in egg production, and sudden death.