Ebola | A Problem for Pet Owners or Not?
Ebola is all over the news. A dog was euthanized in Spain because the owner came down with Ebola. This has created a controversy. The bottom line is we don’t really have enough facts and research to really make an educated decision. It would have been nice to have quarantined the dog so we could have gotten more information about the potential danger, if any. Below is an article created by Veterinary News Network (VNN) which will provide some information for you.
Can Ebola Virus affect our Dogs and Cats
• For the past several months, countries in West Africa have been experiencing an outbreak of illness caused by the Ebola virus. People infected with this virus usually show a fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by dysentery or blood in the diarrhea and abdominal pain. It is basically a viral hemorragic fever.
• Sadly, although recoveries can happen they are rarew and up to 90 percentage of people who test positive for Ebola will die. There is currently no cure. As with many diseases, the only treatment is supportive care, such as rehydration and treating any direct symptom as best as possible.
• With the recent news that a second person has tested positive for Ebola here in North America even after taking all the precautions of a health care worker in a major hospital, many people are becoming alarmed about the transmission of the disease especially considering the uncontrolled migration of people through our southern border and other unidentified viral infections that are known to have come to our contry via this route.
• Further, with the euthanasia of the an infected patient’s dog in Spain (and the outrage that caused around the world), the concerns of the Ebola virus are not limited to protecting only people, but also whether or not our pets are at risk of infection or could possibly transmit the disease to people or other animals.
• Here is what we know at this time; precious little research has been devoted to whether dogs or cats can become infected with Ebola, consequently facts are known. At least one study has indicated that dogs can become infected with the virus, deveop a titer, but the dogs in the study did not demonstrate transmission. (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/3/pdfs/04-0981.pdf).
• However, even though dogs do develop antibodies to the virus, at this point there is no evidence that dogs actually get sick or even show symptoms. What’s more important though is that there are no documented cases of dogs passing the virus to humans. And it must be emphasized – this is true AT THIS POINT, as wse are early in our experience with this disease outside of Africa.
• Because no studies of this particular virus have been done on a large scale in dogs and cats, we are simply in uncharted territory and do not know. Because of this we all have to be vigilant and watch for these general signs and get out pets treated immediately.
• Both the CDC and all veterinary health authorities, public health agnencies and epidemiologists and microbiolobists are on alert around the clock, it is important to understand everything is being done to monitor populationis of people and all animals for unusual signs and even testing where necessary.
• If your pet is sick or shows any symptoms such as fever (usually seen as lack of appetite), vomiting, diarrhea etc., you should see your veterinarian immediately and we’ll make our best effort to get a diagnosis and treat your pet.