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(112,196 posts)
Wed May 1, 2024, 05:54 PM May 1

Bird Flu in Raw Cow Milk Has Killed Farm Cats in a Concerning First

Last edited Wed May 1, 2024, 07:58 PM - Edit history (1)

In mid-March, a mysterious disease began to spread among cows at a north Texas dairy farm. Just a few days later, cats on the farm started acting strange.

Their eyes and noses leaked copiously, they walked incessantly in circles, their bodies grew stiff, and they lost their sight and coordination. Then, they began to die.

According to officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a dozen of the domestic felines on this one farm were the casualties of a highly contagious strain of bird flu. They seem to have contracted the virus from drinking raw, unpasteurized milk from cows on the property.


This post is not meant to be alarmist. Takeaways should be

1. The virus is mutating and is on the move, although they might never find out where grazing animals are getting it beyond bird droppings in pastures. It will take a lot of mutation for the virus to be transmitted through the air, to and between humans.

2. Take raw milk off the menu, please, the risk isn't worth it, the present bird flu is a proven killer in humans as well as kitties.

7 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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(8,637 posts)
5. For humans knowingly infected, H5N1 also has about a 50% death rate.
Thu May 2, 2024, 11:36 AM
May 2

I think we definitely need to do a better job testing and preventing infections in all mammals, to prevent it from evolving into a virus that will easily transmit between humans.


(3,229 posts)
2. We own a cat boarding business and recently a customer lost their cat from milk
Wed May 1, 2024, 06:07 PM
May 1

DO NOT FEED YOU CAT MILK! We have talked to many customers that have had serious health issues with milk. The vet also told us NO MILK!!


(112,196 posts)
3. Adult cats don't digest it any better than I do
Wed May 1, 2024, 06:33 PM
May 1

which is not at all, with nasty consequences.

My cats all craved dairy. Once in a while, they got to lick a little yogurt or sour cream off a finger. We could all digest it once the bacteria had taken care of the lactose.

Likely, these cats were lapping up spillage.


(8,637 posts)
6. It's hard not to be alarmist when the gov agencies supposedly monitoring this
Thu May 2, 2024, 12:10 PM
May 2

are doing the same freaking thing they did with covid.

Xitter post by Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, epidemiologist:
Incredibly frustrating that the @USDA
again failed to include basic information about H5N1 genetic sequences from cows. All data had dates and locations scrubbed out—only saying “USA” & “2024”, which is useless for scientists to analyze for mutation rates.

From the article at the link:
nother upload of genetic sequence data from the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in dairy cattle has exacerbated the scientific community’s frustration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture after the agency again failed to include basic information needed to track how the virus is changing as it spreads.

Like a large tranche of sequences that the USDA uploaded to a public database on April 21, this week’s data dump did not include information about where and when the sequenced samples were obtained from cows or other sequenced animals. All are simply labeled with “USA” and “2024.”

A key goal of monitoring genetic sequences in an outbreak is to track the evolution of a spreading virus, in this case to see if transmission among a new mammalian species is leading to changes that could make H5N1 more transmissible to and among people. Without the equivalent of a time stamp on the individual sequences, that’s much more difficult to do, scientists told STAT.

“We know what was happening a month ago, but we don’t know what’s happening now. Or it’s less clear what’s happening now,” said Thomas Peacock, an influenza virologist at the Pirbright Institute, a British organization that focuses on controlling viral illnesses in animals.


(112,196 posts)
7. Eventually they'll find it in a state with a little more respect for science
Thu May 2, 2024, 12:40 PM
May 2

Texas is all about damage control and reassuring people that their cow's milk is safe. Unfortunately, that tends, as you point out, to leave little for science to work with.

Good luck to the CDC or any other agency getting in there to test the whole herd for viral samples.

Paxton, himself, would block that. Bad for bidness, you know.

As for the virus becoming easily transmissible to and among people, it generally has to become weaker to do that, hitting the upper respiratory system rather than the lower. That in itself reduces its lethality. However, this one shows all the signs of being a bad one, maybe even on the level of the 1918 flu, although we have better treatments now than they had back then.

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