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ISU Student Experience

Ebola and Dogs

The recent cases of Ebola in the United States have begun to put pet owners on edge; many fearing their beloved pet may transmit or, even worse, contract the deadly virus. One study has shown that although dogs could naturally contract the virus, “Symptoms did not develop in any of these highly exposed animals (tested dogs) during the outbreak, a finding that tends to support antigenic stimulation, asymptomatic, or very mild Ebola virus infections.” The study showed no evidence of canine-to-human infection, but didn’t exactly rule out the possibility.

Gavin Olsen, DVM, DACVIM; Iowa Veterinary Specialties’ Board-Certified Internist states, “At this time, as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports, the one study that has been performed to evaluate prevalence of the Ebola virus in dogs (or evidence of previous exposure) did not detect the virus, but did reveal antibodies were present in a small population. None of these dogs were sick, all had been exposed to endemic areas, and no documented cases of canine to human transmission were noted.” The CDC has specifically created a Q&A portion on their website concerning pets and the Ebola virus.

Bentley, the dog of one of the healthcare workers that contracted the Ebola virus, has been isolated after possible exposure from his owner. Reports have indicated that periodic testing for evidence of the virus has begun. This comes after the news that Excalibur, the dog of a Spanish nurse who had contracted Ebola, was euthanized after having contact with his infected owner. “It is disheartening to hear of the dog in Spain that was euthanized after possible exposure from a health care worker, and I’m glad to see that the dog of one of the U.S. patients is being quarantined and tested instead of immediately being euthanized.” Olsen states. “We sincerely hope this pet will remain healthy, its owner (and other humans with the Ebola virus infection) makes a complete recovery, and that all affected can be reunited soon with their 2- and 4-legged family members.”

Published on October 4, 2016


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