December 15, 2014


 Guidance issued on Ebola exposure in pets

Posted Dec. 3, 2014

Just before press time in mid-November, the AVMA and partners issued guidance for health officials on handling the pets of people exposed to the Ebola virus.

The guidance had been in development since early October, when a dog in Spain was euthanized after its owner became ill with Ebola. A similar case emerged shortly afterward in Dallas, where another dog’s owner tested positive for the Ebola virus. The dog in Dallas was quarantined for 21 days and released after having no signs of illness and twice testing negative for the virus.

The AVMA partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Agriculture, and other health agencies and experts to develop guidance for public health officials on how to assess, handle, and monitor companion animals that may have been exposed to Ebola. Developing this guidance was a long process because of the novel and complex nature of the guidance as well as the lack of scientific data on Ebola with regard to companion animals.

On Nov. 10, the partners released two guidance documents. The Interim Guidance for Public Health Officials on Pets of Ebola Virus Disease Contacts provides guidance for public health officials on the management of pets, specifically dogs and cats, owned by people who have had contact with Ebola patients. The Interim Guidance for Dog or Cat Quarantine After Exposure to a Human with Confirmed Ebola Virus Disease provides guidance for public health officials on conducting a risk assessment for exposure of dogs and cats that had contact with a human with laboratory-confirmed evidence of Ebola, and it describes how to implement quarantine of dogs or cats if deemed appropriate by state and federal human and animal health officials. The guidance documents are available here.

In addition, the AVMA is providing resources on Ebola here. Members can access a checklist for practitioners, client guide to Ebola exposure, resources for veterinarians, and a client handout on Ebola and pets. The site also contains information for the public.