Why You Should Be Mindful of Which Butts Your Dog is Sniffing

By October 14 | See Comments

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Recently, the world has been in a frenzy over the Ebola virus outbreak occurring in West Africa. Now, a U.S. patient was admitted to a Texas hospital and diagnosed with the disease, which can be transferred through direct contact with an infected person's fluids, such as saliva, urine or vomit, and often results in death.According to ABC News,

Ebola can be spread by monkeys, bats and a long list of other animals

. This creates a legitimate concern that dogs might become viable hosts of the virus, too. Officials in Madrid, Spain, received a court order to euthanize the pet of a nursing assistant who contracted Ebola while working overseas, despite there being no existing documentation to confirm that canine-to-human transmittal is possible.This begs the question: Can dogs get Ebola?During an Ebola outbreak in the African country Gabon that occurred between 2001 and 2002, researchers tested dogs for traces of the virus. Of the 337 dogs in surrounding towns and villages, roughly 9 to 25 percent showed evidence of antibodies to Ebola, an indication that they were infected or exposed to the virus. Additional lab experiments suggested that animals' urine, stool and saliva might contain the virus, which, in theory, means humans might catch Ebola through a dog licking or biting them.However, Sharon Curtis Granskog, a spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association, explained that "the risk of canines spreading Ebola in the U.S. is very small."

Protect your dog from other animals

Be it rabies, Ebola or some other health risk, it's important to

protect your canine

from other dangerous animals. The AVMA offered

several measures that owners can take to protect their pooches

- and themselves - from health threats.When taking your dog on walks at parks or reservations, make sure he stays clear of stool. Canine droppings can contain harmful items, like parvovirus and hookworms, that get your little pooch sick, and you should be careful not to let him get too curious.If your dog has a disease or is in the middle of taking prescription medications, it's best to consult with your veterinarian before bringing him to dog gatherings. This can put him at risk of catching illnesses from canines or other animals in the area. If your pooch is sick, it's a good idea to keep him indoors and comfortable until he's fully recovered.To bolster your dog's health and vitality, sign up for a

PetPlus

membership to purchase prescription medications at discounted prices.

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