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Ebola & Pets

There certainly has been quite a bit of reporting done on the Ebola virus and the health concerns for people and pets.  There was a case in Texas, another report from NYC, and a recent report from Portland, Oregon.  Bentley, the dog owned by the Dallas, Texas nurse who contracted the virus, was put into quarantine under the direct care of a veterinarian for 21 days to make sure he was safe and had not contracted the Ebola virus.  Bentley tested negative for the virus 3 times and was reunited with his owner, who recovered from the virus.  The patient from Portland, Oregon who displayed Ebola like symptoms was put in quarantine and has now tested negative for Ebola.

Dallas nurse, Nina Pham reunites with her dog Bentley after Ebola quarantine

Dallas nurse, Nina Pham reunites with her dog Bentley after Ebola quarantine

With these cases in the news, pet owners may be wondering if there is a risk to their pets from the Ebola virus, or to themselves or the public from contact with their pets.
  • A study found that dogs can become infected with/show antibodies to Ebola, but remain asymptomatic.
  • There have been no scientific reports indicating that Ebola virus has been isolated from, or directly transmitted by dogs. (Source: WSAVA)
  • 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. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola. (Source: CDC)

The relative risk of exposure to the Ebola virus in the U.S. is extremely low, as there have been only a small number of isolated human cases and no known animal cases. (Source: AVMA)

  • The chances of a dog or cat being exposed to Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the United States is very low as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a symptomatic person sick with Ebola. (Source: CDC)
  • We do not yet know whether or not a pet’s body, paws, or fur can pick up and spread Ebola to people or other animals. It is important to keep people and animals away from blood or body fluids of a person with symptoms of Ebola infection. (Source: CDC)
  • In the rare instance that a pet is determined to be potentially exposed to EVD, the pet should be evaluated by a veterinarian in consultation with the State Public Health Veterinarian and local public health.
  • The CDC recommends that if a pet is in the home of an EVD patient, veterinarians, in collaboration with public health officials, should evaluate the pet’s risk of exposure (close contact and exposure to blood or body fluids of an EVD patient). Appropriate measures, such as closely monitoring the exposed pet while using necessary precautions, should be taken based on that evaluation. (Source: AVMA)
  • The CDC is working with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the US Department of Agriculture to develop more specific guidance for pet owners and veterinarians.
  • If you have concerns about your pet, please contact your veterinarian or the State Public Health Veterinarian at (971) 673-1111.
Print the Ebola & Pets handout
Sources: AVMA, WSAVA, CDC, Oregon State Public Health Veterinarian, Washington State VMA
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