Can pets contract ebola?

According to a new statement from the CDC, while Ebola is deadly to humans and animals, it is very difficult to catch. Therefore, they concluded that pets are not at significant risk of Ebola in the US. Moreover, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming ill in Africa. For more information, visit the CDC website

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Question is, can they become asymptomatic carriers/spreaders?

And, has anyone tested rats & mice to see if they could become carriers/spreaders?


Someone gets sick in their apartment. Uncontrolled diarrhea and vomiting. Tosses their bedding and clothing in the apartment dumpster. Then goes to the hospital. Tests positive for the Big E, and goes into the iso ward.

Meanwhile, rats & mice are in the apartment dumpster, making contact with the infectious material.

Uh-oh, or not uh-oh, that is the question.

AFAIK there is no proof that any animal other than fruit bats, which don't live in North America, can be viremic enough to be genuinely contagious for a sustained period without becoming ill. Moreover, the known infected species in the U.S. and the one that gets around the most is Homo sapiens. A pet that is in close enough contact with a virus-shedding sick human to be exposed and potentially contract the disease is presumably indoors or in a fenced yard, where humans outside the home will not have close contact with them. By the time an exposed dog was contagious, the human would be hospitalized (or dead) so he wouldn't be getting taken out for walks. In almost all jurisdictions in America, pet dogs can no longer roam free, and feral dogs do not have close contact with humans (aside from occasionally eating them...). An outdoor cat would probably be at low risk of being exposed in the first place, unless she happened to come in at the wrong moment and get barfed on, then get turned back outside before the owner went to the hospital. Meanwhile, humans run all over the place, going to the bathroom and then touching everything.

It's just as well that my comment went into moderation, as the links were mangled. I'll try again without them:

From the CDC link, “There is limited evidence that dogs become infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.”

Viz., PMIDs 15757552 and 22558004. Pigs apparently develop clinical disease and can transmit EBOV to cynomolgus macaques (PMID 23155478).

One largish study pretty clearly indicated that dogs in the outbreak area of West Africa were being infected by Ebola regularly. There seem to be not symptomatic dogs, however. It almost certainly isn't an issue.

Pretty good chance that Chimpanzees can get Ebola, give it to each other, and die from it. That is based on field observations and is not clear (as far as transmission goes) but an entire population was pretty much wiped out over a period of months, so they must have been giving it to each other.

So for "G"'s scenario, substitute chimpanzees for rats ....

If there are chimps in your apartment dumpster, you have bigger problems. ;-)

But i dont understand why are you guys arguing ur both rite

By JJ stackz (not verified) on 24 Oct 2014 #permalink

Its really interesting. I wonder why the ebolavirus is only fatal to certain animals. Serum samples of dogs in ebolavirus endemic areas have shown that some have ebolavirus-specific antibody, but they didn't detect ebolavirus nucleic acid from their samples. I read an article of a dog that was euthanized, because he lived in the house with his infected owners. He was put down as a precaution even though he didn’t show any symptoms.

By Chanelle Olivi… (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

Mind blowing. Maybe our pets hold the cure to this infectious disease. Bats and even monkeys are not immune but yet no known dog was positively diagnosed.

What could be possible reasons for there being a risk of mix-breed dogs transmitting the ebola virus to humans opposed to purebred dogs? Mix-breed dogs aren't really scarce in West Africa and if it is true that they can transmit the ebola virus to humans would they not be identified as a carrier by now.

By Chanelle Olivi… (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

Its truly fascinating to think our household pets might be our salvation as they might hold the key or at least part of it, to curing such a disease .it's just sad that they killed that dog out of fear not only could he have been healthy , but he could have been immune and help find a cure . in previous cases other animals have been killed by the masses out of fear they might have a disease which they did not .I guess misery loves company

Is there a possibility that pets can hold the key to the cure for ebola?