Do I Need to Worry About Ebola Virus and My Dog?

By Species, By Topic, Cats, Dogs, Infectious Diseases

With the recent news stories overplaying the Ebola virus, veterinarians often get the question concerning Ebola virus and pets.

The best way to approach the issue of concern with Ebola Virus and our pets is to examine the facts that are known about the disease in animals and humans. The Ebola virus is a zoonotic disease, which means it is transmitted from one species to another. However, there is no evidence of the transmission to humans from dogs. It is not known at this point if dogs are capable of contracting the disease and then transmitting the disease.

There was a study from an outbreak of Ebola in 2000-2001, where dogs from the affected area were tested for antibodies against the virus. Approximately 25% of those tested had antibodies but no virus was found in the dogs. In addition, none of the dogs ever showed any signs of the disease or died during the period of study. Obviously, more studies need to be conducted, but this gives us a good reason for NOT overreacting to the presence of Ebola.

Additionally, the relative risk to Ebola in the U.S. is extremely low. With the latest isolated cases that have occurred in a small number of people that have returned to the US from abroad, there has been a heightened awareness as well as heightened medical security measures implemented to further decrease our risk.

If there is a case of a pet being in contact with a human Ebola patient, the Center for Disease Control recommends the pet be evaluated for risk of exposure. If it is appropriate, the pet can be placed in confinement for 21 days to monitor for any signs of an illness. Testing for the Ebola virus can then be performed before the pet is released from confinement.

If you have further questions please call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic at 540-943-7577.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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