Animal Rights activists in Europe have been reeling since they found out the dog of the Spanish Nurse, Excalibur will be put down. Many took to twitter to join the campaign to keep him alive. However, some also view this as an opportunity to investigate previous studies about dogs which are able to carry the virus and allegedly stay asymptomatic. This could form part of the ongoing studies to try and find a vaccine.
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) of the USA protects pharmaceutical companies who may want to use mammals to study Ebola from deliberate attempts to sabotage research. While the rights of those who wish to protest are also respected, clear boundaries are drawn and the bill largely favors medical advancement.
The CDC’s website suggests that all mammals could be potential carriers if they have come into contact with the disease. While many argue that animal testing should be illegal it will certainly not stop anyone from investigating how the disease operates in mammals. There has been no confirmation if Thomas Eric Duncan came into contact with any pets or if any of the contacts have tested positive for the virus. If they have it would be necessary to monitor their pets for symptoms and take necessary action. Water, air and non-mammals including mosquitos are not known to carry the virus.
Pets are considered low risk and there is no need to panic. Livestock meat is also regularly tested, as are the livestock themselves. It is however not clear under the law if the abduction of an animal in isolation would constitute a loss of property under the Act and whether resultant infections would make the kidnappers criminally liable.
UPDATE: The Dog, Excalibur, has been put down.