Veterinary Association Releases Guidelines on Dogs and Ebola

After two high-profile cases, the American Veterinary Medical Association weighs in on pets of patients with Ebola.

Michael Leaverton  |  Nov 13th 2014


So far, the situation with pets and Ebola appears to be limited to just two events — a dog in Spain was euthanized after his owner contracted Ebola, and a dog in Dallas, Texas, was quarantined and released after his owner contracted the virus.

Those events, while similar, had very different outcomes, and that’s led the American Veterinary Medical Association to issue official guidance concerning pets and Ebola, according to the AP.

The guidance is a bit sobering: According to the AVMA, pets who have been in close contact with Ebola-infected people should be quarantined for 21 days. If the pet tests positive for Ebola, he or she should be euthanized and the body incinerated.

Fortunately, pets don’t appear to be coming down with Ebola, even in Africa. The CDC states that “there have been 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.”

The guidance outlines types of contact and interactions that officials should ask about to evaluate the pet’s history of exposure to an Ebola patient, including:

  • Exposure to blood or body fluids of human Ebola patient (including, but not limited to, urine, saliva, sweat, feces, and vomit); this includes licking, consuming, or walking through any of these fluids
  • Sitting in the lap of patient
  • Being cuddled or kissed by patient
  • Licking the patient, including the face or mouth
  • Sleeping in the same bed as the patient
  • Sharing food with the patient
  • Any other types of contact or interactions with the Ebola patient

As for the quarantine, the guidance outlines procedures to follow during all parts of the process. As an animal’s handlers take a dog from a home, they should wear “personal protective equipment (PPE),” for example, and a fence should be erected around the home to prevent escape during the crating process. Only the dog is to be taken; no collars, toys, bedding, etc., is allowed. Once the dog reaches the transport vehicle, the dog to receive a new crate and a new collar.

Quarantine facility should have a “minimum of two physical containment levels (i.e., crate/kennel housed in secured facility)” and provide a place for eating, drinking, urinating, and defecating. The facility should “protect the animal from harm” and allow the animals to “remain clean and dry.”

The guidelines also suggest that the “same brand, type, variety of pet food the animal typically eats should be obtained to feed the animal during the quarantine period in order to avoid gastrointestinal episodes that could confuse the clinical picture.”

Currently there is no routine Ebola testing for pets, and tests must be authorized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, Ebola does not seem to be hitting pets in any way. Even in areas Africa where Ebola is present, the CDC notes that “there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with the virus.”

Via the AP

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