Bentley, a Cavalier King Charles, belonging to the first U.S. resident to contract Ebola without having traveled to Africa seems will not suffer the same fate as Excalibur, the euthanized dog from Spain.
Last week, the world mourned the unjustified death of Excalibur, when Madrid officials euthanized the dog without testing the pet first. Spanish authorities believed that after Excalibur’s owners contracted the virus, it was best for the overall health of the public to eradicate all possible sources of the infection even if there was no confirmed existence of the deadly virus.
When 26-year-old nurse, Nina Pham, from Dallas, Texas, became infected with Ebola, officials from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) moved her to quarantine. Pham became infected after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first U.S. Ebola casualty this year so far.
When news broke that Pham tested positive for the virus and that she owned a dog, animal lovers across the nation were on alert regarding the future of the pet.
Unlike Spanish officials, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, presiding over this case, ruled to do everything possible to save the pet.
“When I met with her parents, they said, ‘This dog is important to her, judge. Don’t let anything happen to the dog. If that dog has to be The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, we’re going to take good care of that dog,’” Jenkins told USA Today.
Authorities believed Bentley is not is danger. Pham had limited contact with her pet since her symptoms appeared and her diagnosis was confirmed. Nevertheless, the dog has been removed from the apartment and moved to an undisclosed location for monitoring. Bentley is under the care of Dallas Animal Services and veterinarians from Texas A&M University are overlooking his care.
According to a 2005 CDC Ebola research study done on African dogs and Ebola antivirus, dogs are susceptible to the infection but they mainly contract it by ingesting other dead animals already carrying the virus. The study also found that humans could get infected via animals but the primary point of infection was the slaughter of infected animals for food. At the time of the study it was unknown whether the dogs could shed the virus in their bodily fluids without showing signs of sickness, potentially transmitting the virus to humans before getting well on their own.
We’re glad to know Bentley is safe and will receive a fair shot at beating Ebola if in the end he has been infected. We hope Pham gets healthy again and reunites with a healthy Bentley as well.