In recent news, the developments with the Ebola virus infection has everyone looking for and asking questions about the risks to themselves and their loved ones. I sit here looking into the deep brown eyes of my Angel, and thinking like an owner rather than a veterinarian, I feel sad about the recent news of a dog in Spain who lost it’s life for being in contact with a positive Ebola patient. I feel concerned for the unnecessary anxieties and worries now that my clients and pet owners across the nation will unfortunately feel regarding the safety of themselves and the potential risks our pets may or may not pose with this illness.
Everything we know about the Ebola virus and dogs extends from the large outbreak in Africa in 2001 when over 400 dogs were exposed; exposure equals access and contact however and nothing more. While dogs have demonstrated positive antibody development (meaning their bodies are responding as if infected) they are a dead-end host meaning they do not appear to transmit or spread the virus. Dogs as well do not develop illness when exposed to the virus. Our pets are innocent by-standers that may witness this ugly epidemic but at this time need to be regarded as low risk factors. At the current time, the US Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated there are “no reports of pets becoming sick” or “playing a role in the transmission of Ebola to humans”. With the understandable concerns for the development of this serious viral disease, especially following the recent positive test of the Dallas healthcare worker, I encourage pet owners to rest assured that their dogs are not apart of this public illness issue. Although as cat people know, the cat would find being considered equal to anything regarding a canine as an insult, cats are likely equal in the low risk population (though none have been evidently exposed).
If your furry family member becomes ill please seek evaluation with a veterinarian though feel assured that Ebola is not a topic of concern in our veterinary offices.