The Real Facts of Ebola and Your Dog

Dr. Doug Aspros gives the facts on your dog and Ebola.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: October 17, 2014, 1:30 p.m. PST

In my opinion, news broadcasts tend to overly dramatize their reports. Living in southern California, I cannot tell you how many times news stations report "Storm Watch [fill in the year]”while their reporters are dressed in raincoats and carrying umbrellas and outside it’s barely drizzling. My dogs come in and don’t even shake any water off themselves as if to say, "What rain?” Seriously. Their Storm Watch reports can last all day; the rain rarely does.

Ebola & Your Dog 


It’s easy to laugh off such reporting. But what about when they’re talking about something a little scarier, like Ebola and our dogs? There has been lots of media coverage on the King Charles Spaniel that belonged to Ebola patient Nina Pham. Dogs who’ve been exposed to Ebola have been euthanized. Others, like Pham’s dog, have been quarantined. Nobody, it seems, dares come in contact with these animals.

Is the news whipping people into a needless frenzy or is there really something to worry about?

Deciphering fact from sensationalism is hard, but Dr. Doug Aspros, spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), gave the real facts of Ebola and our dogs in a recent press release.
  • Ebola can only be contracted by coming in direct contact with an infected individual. Unless your dog cozies up with and gives kisses to someone who has recently worked in West Africa, he’s not in any danger of contracting the virus.
  • No dog has developed the disease – not even in West Africa. "There is evidence that dogs in Africa exposed to animals who died from Ebola infections generated antibodies to the virus…There have been no human cases of Ebola associated with dogs…all dogs that were tested remained asymptomatic, there was no evidence of transmission,” Aspros said in the press release.
  • Dogs of U.S. Ebola patients will be quarantined instead of euthanized. "The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has called for quarantine and not euthanasia for dogs exposed to human cases, and that further studies be done…It is inhumane to automatically euthanize dogs that have been in contact with an infected human patient,” Aspros continued. I think we’d all agree with him on that.

While I never thought my dogs would contract Ebola, it’s still reassuring to know the facts. For more information on Ebola and pets, please visit the AVMA Ebola Virus FAQ page.

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Fred   International

11/12/2014 4:48:33 PM

Thank you Cari & Dr. Aspros for making it clear that dogs have never been found to have Ebola infection or to have been observed to have spread the disease in any way. The CDC published research paper only found protective antibodies to the virus in dogs in Africa, (and even in dogs in France who were never exposed to Ebola.) Since they never found live virus in dogs during a human Ebola outbreak in Africa, this suggests dogs had simple antigenic stimulation via degraded virus particles like you get from a killed virus
The authors of the research paper say this in the body of the paper, yet in the conclusion they say only that antibodies suggest the possibility of infection. They are making a case for more research funding there. Too bad that has resulted in undue panic and death for dogs.

Here is the research paper reference. It can be read online for
Allela L, Bourry O, Pouillot R, Délicat A, Yaba P, Kumulungui B, et al. Ebola virus in dogs and human risk. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2005 Mar

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Bernadee - 18020   OK

10/21/2014 9:41:43 PM

remember do not put your human emotions from your dog they are not human their time frame are different than humans they do not feel the same as a human.I'm not saying they do not feel pain they do I'm not saying they miss their people they do.

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Patty   Zelienople, Pennsylvania

10/21/2014 4:52:28 PM


You seem compassionate in a strange way, therefore my thoughts are that you should never own any animal, especially a dog. If people kennel their dogs while they're on vacation which seems like a jail to me, quarantining a dog for precaution is a lot better. People would do it for their children and visit, yet not be able to touch them. How to you think a child, a real human being would feel let alone the parent. A reality check is the two different situations are different yet the same. Caprice?

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Kay   buffalo, New York

10/21/2014 1:58:12 PM

Meriwether that is dumb. A dog can be quarantined for a month no problem. There's no reason to put a dog down because the alternative is quarantine for 21 days. That's no "inhumane". It's inhumane to kill a dog that isn't deathly ill. And what are you talking about quarantining the dog for the rest of its life? They won't do that! It's 21 days!!! How old are you 5?

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