The question on everyone’s mind: Can dogs get Ebola?
I like to stay current with newsworthy events, especially those that relate to the canine species. The first time I read about an Ebola case being diagnosed in the United States, I was concerned. Can dogs get Ebola, or is it just a human disease? So much information was beginning to be spread online about Ebola, but I really didn’t know what information I should trust.
And then I heard about Excalibur, the dog from Spain who was put down because his owner had contracted the disease. That is when I really started to get nervous. Excalibur’s human mom was a nurse who contracted Ebola at the hospital where she worked. Excalibur’s mom was placed in isolation. Though her husband and Excalibur showed no signs of illness, Excalibur’s dad was placed in quarantine, and Excalibur – well, let’s just say that his story ends there, unfortunately.
When a nurse in the United States became ill with Ebola, everyone was on the edge of their seats to find out how the government would approach the treatment of her dog Bentley. Would he be put to sleep as well? Can dogs get Ebola from their human parents? There were a lot of questions, but not enough answers. Fortunately, Bentley was sent into isolation, and remained there for 21 days as a precaution. Though Bentley always tested negative for the Ebola virus, I consider the isolation (with toys!) a much better outcome than that of poor Excalibur.
Recently the Centers for Disease Control posted an article titled Questions and Answers About Ebola and Pets. Here’s some great news from the report: “While the information available suggests that the virus may be found in several kinds of animals, CDC, the US Department of Agriculture, and the American Veterinary Medical Association do not believe that pets are at significant risk for Ebola in the United States.” Here are five more important Ebola facts, in case you’re like me and wondering “Can dogs get Ebola?”
Ebola is spread only through direct contact with blood and other bodily fluid.
Has your dog come in contact with a human who is ill with Ebola? No? Great! That means your dog is not infected with Ebola. If your dog has been in contact with a human who was exposed to Ebola, they would have to have a direct contact with the human’s blood or other bodily fluids to contract the disease. It is likely that any dogs who come in contact with a human Ebola patient will be put into isolation, like Bentley.
Ebola is not spread through the air, water, or food.
Do you live in the same state as a person who has been diagnosed with Ebola? Unless you’ve come in direct contact with that person, or their sneezy fingers, there is no need to worry about the health of you or your dog. Ebola is not an airborne illness. It isn’t transmitted through water or food products either. Remember, the only spread of Ebola has been through direct contact with bodily fluids.
Your dog or other household pets have very little risk of becoming infected with the disease.
There is currently no evidence of dogs (or even cats!) becoming sick with Ebola. The CDC reports that “There is limited evidence that dogs become infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.”
There are no confirmed cases of dogs spreading Ebola to a human.
There is no record of dogs transferring the Ebola to a humans. So if you and the members of your household have not come in direct contact with anyone ill with Ebola you will not contract it. So far, research states that even if your dog were able to contract the disease, your pup would not be able to transfer the illness to you.
There is no need for your dog to be tested for Ebola.
Remember, unless your dog has direct access to the blood or bodily fluids of an individual affected with Ebola, he cannot get infected. If your dog has no chance of being infected, then there is no need for him to be tested, either!
So, can dogs get Ebola? From what I’ve read, the answer is yes. Dog can become infected with Ebola in extremely rare circumstances, though the CDC isn’t worried about that occurring in the United States at this time. That definitely makes me feel better.
Are you worried about Ebola and your pets? Let me know in the comment section. I hope I put your mind at ease!
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