Can Your Pet Get Ebola?

A Scary Disease For People (And Pets?)

This post was supposed to continue my holistically-raised pet holiday safety theme but a much scarier topic that effects our pets has emerged. Death of our beloved companions from Ebola virus exposure.

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Tigger is patiently waiting for her present. She doesn’t realize what really is coming! (from Dr. Jeff Feinman at www.certifiedvethomeopath.com)

The effects of the Ebola virus are scary. Really scary. There may be a small chance that domestic animals can become infected or transmit the disease. This is a game changer if this indeed is the case. Why? Did I mention how scary Ebola infection can be? Ironic timing with Halloween just around the corner.

The tiny Ebola virus was found in Africa in 1976 and causes a rapidly fatal bleeding disease. Most of us have seen the gory images in the news. Flu-like symptoms quickly progress to bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, etc. Death rapidly ensues in most cases. No treatment has yet been found. The WHO nicely summarizes the disease.

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Fear and bleeding are prominent Ebola symptoms.

 

What’s All Of The Fuss About?

This can also be a difficult time to be a pet parent. At least one dog, Excalibur, has already been euthanized and more are suspect. Why? They’ve been exposed to people diagnosed with Ebola.

The theory is that our pets become “infected” and can then spread this bug. But is this indeed the case? Interesting data from the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) already exists. This information should help us discern the reality of the situation.

Good science starts with a postulate, e.g. that our pets can be reservoirs of Ebola infection, then uses collected data to objectively evaluate it. Right?

Unfortunately not always. As statisticians (and drug companies) know well, very different conclusions can be drawn from the same data points.

Is There Any Evidence That Pets Can Get Ebola?

Ebola outbreaks have been sporadically devastating Africa since 1970s. During the 2001-2002 outbreak the CDC was called in and did what they do best. Collected samples and generated data. This data was then analyzed to learn more and to help reduce future deaths. Here’s their own words (but my bold) from this analysis and

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Loving touch from other pups and you is always beneficial and speeds recovery.(from Dr. Jeff Feinman at www.certifiedvethomeopath.com)

resultant article:

…We found that 40 of 159 dogs living in the 2001–2002 Ebola virus–epidemic area had detectable Ebola virus–specific IgG, indicating either true infection or simple antigenic stimulation…
.

..Symptoms did not develop in any of these highly exposed animals during the outbreak, a finding that tends to support antigenic stimulation, asymptomatic, or very mild Ebola virus infection. Wild animals, especially gorillas and chimpanzees, can also be infected by Ebola virus, but the infection is highly lethal and causes huge outbreaks and massive population declines.

…To confirm the potential human risk of Ebola virus–infected dogs, the mechanisms of viral excretion (i.e. body fluids and virus kinetics of excretion) should be investigated during experimental canine infection. This research would also offer insights into the natural resistance of dogs…”

So what does this tell us? There are many scavenging dogs throughout Africa. Most dogs will eat and investigate pretty much anything. Including debris from Ebola victims.

Some of these dogs formed antibodies against Ebola virus. We are not aware of any canine fatalities. Isn’t this a good thing? Perhaps antibody-rich dog serum is a potential life-saving treatment.

Are Pets That Have Ebola Antibodies Infected With Ebola?

The question however is whether animals who produce antibodies in response to an infectious disease are “infected”.  No. And yes. They are not infected based on the definition of infection which I learned in medical school immunology classes (before vet school).

This definition includes exposure, growth of the organism, usually with development of symptoms and then antibody production. In fact, infection can occur without antibody production at all. No evidence of Ebola organisms has yet been found in companion animals.

PhD immunologist and veterinary homeopath extraordinaire Dr. Richard Pitcairn has this to say:

“Using “infected” is a misuse of the term meant to frighten people. To be seropositive without evidence of illness means immunity. Having immunity does not mean infection.

We become immune to many things we come in contact with, things that would never cause infection. Just the way the immune system works. The immune system does not evaluate if something is infectious or not, just if foreign and if so reacts to it.”

So where’s the controversy? It sounds like no need to panic, right? Wrong. Unfortunately when public health is involved, greater caution is often recommended. Hence “Excalibur’s” euthanasia.

Is History Repeating Itself?

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“I’m not quite sure what’s around the corner.” (from Dr. Jeff Feinman at www.certifiedvethomeopath.com)

A seemingly common flu rapidly progressing to bleeding from multiple areas on the body has been seen all over the world since the 17th century. Sound familiar? This dreaded disease is not Ebola and has been very thoroughly investigated. These similar symptoms are a result of Yellow Fever (YF).

Why yellow? Like Ebola, this dis-ease causes internal destruction of the blood cells (hemolysis). This can cause a jaundiced appearance.

There are still over 200,000 cases/year from YF. Despite the high human and primate mortality rate, no other animals have reportedly been infected or died.

The Homeopathic Perspective of Ebola Infection

We consider Louis Pasteur to be one of the fathers of microbiology and dis- ease cause and prevention. We are now learning that exposure to the bug is only a small part of the equation. Whether it is canine (or human) flu, kennel cough, Lyme or even Ebola.

The healthier your pet, the lower the chance that they will get sick from an infectious disease.



Even though Louis Pasteur famously admited in his later years that the “terrain” is everything. It’s not that infections like Ebola, Lyme, Parvo, Leukemia, etc. are nothing, but it’s critical that we take them in context by looking at the bigger picture.

How You Can Best Help Prevent Your Pet From Contracting Ebola

The bigger picture is whether our pets actually get sick when exposed to infectious agents. Exposure to the infectious agent is only one piece of the puzzle. The overall level of health is an even bigger piece.

Achieving optimal health and minimizing infectious diseases is potentially very easy:

1-Feed a fresh and vital diet
2-Offer plenty of exercise and mental stimulation
3-Avoid unnecessary vaccines and drugs.
4-Above all is to not suppress your pet’s natural healing (with “antis”)

Dr. Jeff Feinman is a certified vet homeopath who will help keep your companion animals healthy holistically without drugs

The vastness and beauty of our world is sometimes obscured.

Unfortunately most pet owners lose sight of this bigger picture. Even though it can both help prevent infectious and other chronic dis-eases.

Is Ebola A Real Threat To My Pet?

True Ebola infections have not yet been found in any companion animal. Some have antibody production. That’s it. Similarly, no pet animals are known to have died in any of the Yellow Fever epidemics.

The first step in prevention of any infectious agent is to minimize exposure. Avoid traveling with your pets to Ebola “hot zones”. Best to postpone your trip to Liberia…

Now’s the perfect time to learn more about strengthening your pet’s immune system. You can do so by reading these articles. Stop  weakening your pet’s body and work with its’ natural healing abilities. A veterinary homeopath  can both help teach you how and treat any problems that arise.

I look forward to both your comments below as well as in the Ebola folder on my homevet.com Pet Chat Forum.

Stay well.

Dr. Jeff

5 Comments
  1. You can imagine my surprise when the sweet picture of Msindikiza and Shukuru came up on Facebook! That was a great article. How about getting Dogs Naturally to publish it or at least post it on their Facebook page? Thank you for all you teach us.

  2. Thanks for your note Taffy.

    Thanks also for sending the great pic of your wonderful two holistically-treated and “resistant” (to infections) pups.

    Dr. Jeff

  3. When my three daughters were little, naturally they would get sick from time to time. With only a few exceptions, they didn’t come down with anything that we couldn’t work through at home, and without running to the pediatrician for medicine. My daughters developed very healthy and strong immune systems and even now very seldom get sick. My husband became resistant to penicillin because his mom took him to the doctor at every cough and the doctor over prescribed it. When my daughters were little I was a home daycare provider in order to bring in some extra money for the household and to give my daughters more chances to socialize. One boy in particular was to the doctor and on medications more in the few years I babysat him for than all three of my girls had been on from birth until the time the boy no longer needed a daytime caretaker. My daughters are happy and healthy and all three have strong immune systems they developed naturally. Too many parents and doctors are too quick to treat the mildest condition with medications.

    Now that my daughters are grown, I am focusing my attention on my five Treeing Walker Coonhounds and three cats – all rescues. I am also very involved in animal rescue. While I believe in keeping my dogs UTD with their rabies and DHPP shots and on heartworm preventative (with yearly tests), that’s all they get. They eat a healthy diet and I do my best to make sure they get enough exercise. My cats are indoor only, so they only get the basic shots (as for the rabies shots, I honestly don’t think they have any chance of contracting rabies, but do so to keep them safe should one of them ever nip a human visitor). I know some pet “parents” who run their dogs and/or cats to the vet with a single sneeze. Just like with humans, medications given too often can lose their effectiveness and prevent the body from developing natural immunity.

    I have read several articles about Ebola and the possibility of it affecting companion animals. Thank you for writing a concise, yet easy to understand article outlining what is known about Ebola, with relation to animals (especially companion animals). There is much panic over Ebola, and while it’s understandable, there is also quite a bit of misinformation – or lack of information – so the general public simply doesn’t have the facts they need to make intelligent conclusions with regard to Ebola. Since there isn’t at this time a cure, at least we know what it does and how it spreads. Hopefully we can prevent the spread of it until such time as scientists find a cure.

    • Wow, fantastic comment Linda. Thanks so much for posting it.

      Yes, there is a tremendous amount of Ebola (and other) mis-information out there on the web. I hope to dispel some of it here and at http://www.homevet.com

      Dr. Jeff

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