Why Are We Saving People With Ebola When We Could Be Saving Dogs Instead?

“PETA is not aware of any evidence that dogs can transmit Ebola, but even if they can, it seems contrary, unfair and upsetting that while all efforts are being made to save the afflicted woman, none will be made to save Excalibur.”

In case you haven’t heard, a nurse in Spain contracted Ebola after treating a Spanish missionary who’d contracted the virus while in West Africa. She has since been quarantined and is receiving treatment.

However, out of fear that the nurse’s dog Excalibur may have contracted the virus, Spanish authorities euthanized the dog today. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal rights groups were not pleased.

Protests were held outside the nurse’s apartment where Excalibur could be seen barking (top tweet pic) on the balcony and as the Spanish government indicated it would soon be making a decision about the dog’s fate, more and more protesters arrived armed with their own dogs in a kind of “we are all Excalibur” show of force.

On Twitter it got a bit weird as well.

PETA disagreed with Spain’s choice to protect human health by euthanizing Excalibur, saying:

“PETA is not aware of any evidence that dogs can transmit Ebola, but even if they can, it seems contrary, unfair and upsetting that while all efforts are being made to save the afflicted woman, none will be made to save Excalibur,” Mimi Bekhechi, director of PETA UK, said in a statement.

This lack of awareness is disturbing in that it shows a singular misunderstanding of the disease. From InternationalSOS,

Can dogs carry Ebola?
Some studies have shown that dogs may experience asymptomatic Ebola infections (that is, they may have the virus in their bodies but do not get sick). Human infections to date have not been linked to dogs. The risk activities that lead to human infections are direct contact with infected human body fluids, or through bats or consumption of infected wild meat.

The above information took under 30 seconds to find.

What’s more, it’s not well understood how contagious or non-contagious a dog infected with Ebola might be and there’s no way to treat the animal if it is infected. There are no dog quarantines where dogs go for treatment by vets in hazmat suits. Put simply, there’s no apparatus to help a dog with Ebola because while they can’t get sick from it they can transmit it in some cases via bodily fluids…like saliva. As Spanish officials said:

“We cannot take the risk,” said Felipe Vilas, head of the Madrid Official College of Veterinarians, whose criteria were reportedly the determining factor in the authorities’ decision to put the animal down, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

It’s funny, some people (many?) outside West Africa have consistently made off color jokes about the backwardness of West Africans during all this and yet when push comes to shove you can find ignorance wherever you look. TC mark

featured image – via Twitter

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