The authorities in Spain have ordered the euthanizing of a dog named Excalibur, and the order has been carried out amidst nationwide and international outburst over the move. The 12-year old rescue dog belonged to Maria Teresa Romero Ramos, the Spanish nurse that was diagnosed with the Ebola virus in Spain. Health authorities ordered the killing of Excalibur out of fear that the dog may have been infected with the Ebola virus and that it might transmit the disease to humans – despite the Maria’s husband’s call to spare the dog because it didn’t show any signs of infections.
Prior to euthanizing the poor dog, animal rights activists and hundreds of other protesters surrounded the home of the nurse where she lives with her husband in Madrid, to protest the proposed killing. An online petition calling for the sparing of Excalibur’s life was opened and signed by 390,000 petitioners protesting its euthanasia. The fate of the dog had sparked a wide online frenzy, but all this amounted to nothing because Excalibur was still euthanized and set to be cremated.
Following its death, a Twitter hashtag #RIPExcalibur was opened with tweets bidding the animal goodbye. This has opened up a furor whether dogs can actually host and transmit the Ebola virus disease to humans. The spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thomas Skinner, stated that studies show dogs can have immune response to Ebola and this actually means that dogs can become infected with the disease. But he added that there have been no actual reports of any dogs having Ebola yet.
Some researchers on this trend report that “we observed that some dogs ate fresh remains of Ebola virus-infected dead animals brought back to the villages (in West Africa), and that others licked vomit from Ebola virus-infected patients. Given the frequency of contact between humans and domestic dogs, canine Ebola infection must be considered as a potential risk factor for human infection and virus spread.”