Can Dogs Transmit Ebola? Get the Facts

The recent euthanasia of a dog owned by a Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola virus has raised much concern about the canine role in Ebola virus transmission and the risks dogs may pose to humans. As is common with emerging diseases, there are many gaps in our knowledge and these gaps can create fear.

The following key points should be understood:

The lack of information about Ebola virus in dogs makes development of evidence-based practices difficult. Yet, given the available information about Ebola virus in dogs and the broader understanding of Ebola virus and containment practices, reasonable recommendations can be developed for the very unlikely event that more pet dogs become exposed.

Concerns about dogs and Ebola virus cannot be dismissed, and consideration of the role of pets in transmission of this virus is consistent with efforts to promote One Health. At the same time, the risks must be kept in perspective—and reason must outweigh paranoia—to optimize human and animal health and welfare.

1. Ebola virus antibody prevalence in dogs and human risk. Allela L, Bourry O, Pouillot R, et al. Emerg Infect Dis. 11: 385–390, 2005.

About Dr. Weese

J. Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, is veterinary internist and microbiologist, chief of infection control at University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre, and Canada Research Chair in zoonotic diseases. As editor in chief of Clinician’s Brief, Dr. Weese provides quintessential expertise on infectious and zoonotic diseases (particularly of companion animals), infection control, and antimicrobial therapy.

About Brief Media

Brief Media, an Educational Concepts Company, is a trusted publisher of educational information to small animal veterinary practitioners and their staff, and is a valued resource to veterinary marketers. The company’s flagship publication, Clinician’s Brief, is the official publication of the NAVC and provides practical, clinical information to more small animal veterinarians than any other publication brand. Veterinary Team Brief is a peer-reviewed, from-the-trenches veterinary leadership journal that focuses on implementation of medicine through exceptional communication and professional skills. Brief Media’s newest clinical resource, Plumb’s Therapeutics Brief, provides a focus on therapeutics. This unique, hands-on, peer-reviewed journal combines authoritative pharmacology with real-world, clinical applications.