By Dr. Andrew Jones
Recently a nursing assistant in Spain contracted Ebola, and tragically her dog was confiscated and euthanized in spite of the limited risk her dog could have potentially posed. The picture above is of her late dog, Excalibur.
There is little information about the real risk for pets contracting ebola, and exactly what to do.
So what are the facts?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), reports that “At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or other animals.”
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. CDC, said that tests of dogs that ate contaminated meat in the 2001-02 Ebola outbreak, showed some dogs were exposed to the virus because antibodies were found in dog blood, but no one really knows if that could present a risk to people.
There are studies which show that dogs experience Ebola infections with no symptoms ( asymptomatic), but this likely means they are unable to transfer it.
There has not been one case of a person becoming infected by a pet.
Humans are becoming infected by direct contact with infected human body fluids, through bats or consumption of infected wild meat.
Impact on human health- Pets and Disasters
There is the real fear among the CDC that if people are concerned about having their dog killed, they won’t report themselves being ill if starting to show symptoms.
There is the theoretic concern that a dog could spread ebola if it were to come into contact with body fluids of an infected individual, then have those body fluids contact another individual, yet this can be remedied by isolating the dog for a short period of time- not euthanizing it.
Is your pet at risk of ebola?
Is your pet at risk of being euthanized if you or a loved one contract ebola?
Not in the U.S., but Yes in Spain.
Excalibur, the dog owned by the Spanish nurse assistant should not have been killed.
Bentley, the dog belonging to infected Texas nurse Nina Pham (both pictured above), is now safe with Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center- this is the correct decision.
Andrew Jones, DVM
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