Ebola and Pets: Experts say dogs living with humans apparently can get infected. Although the Ebola virus itself has not been found in dogs, antibodies have been detected in their blood, which suggests dogs had survived infections. Whether dogs can pass the virus to humans or to other dogs is unknown.
As health workers in Africa struggle to control the Ebola virus, two Dallas nurses who treated a man who died in October of Ebola have now contracted the disease.
“For the last 38 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming ill. Nor have there been any reports of dogs or cats spreading the virus to other pets or to other people,” said Dr. Carol Osborne, veterinarian at Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic.
Animal experts also say cats, wild and domestic, may be immune to the virus. Dr. Osborne has this message for dog owners in America.
“The likelihood of a dog becoming infected in the United States would be extremely rare which is why we have no need to panic or get very upset,” she said.
The CDC says that there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola, or of being able to spread the disease to other mammals. Even in West Africa where Ebola has claimed thousands of lives, there are no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick.
There is some evidence that suggests dogs can become infected with the virus, but not that they develop the disease.
It is unknown if a pet’s body, fur, or paws can spread Ebola to humans. In all cases involving Ebola, the bodily fluids from an infected person should be avoided.
At this time, the CDC recommends that public health officials take a look at the pets living with Ebola infected people and evaluate the risk. In Dallas, the dog of one of the infected nurses, Nina Pham, is being looked after by the city, quarantined to it’s cage as a precaution.
So far, the only animals reported to spread Ebola are monkeys and fruit bats. That is how the CDC believes the outbreak began in Africa, after a human came in contact with an infected animal. They do not believe that is the case with this year’s epidemic.
For more information on pets and Ebola, visit the CDC’s website.