The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M vets monitor Ebola-exposed dog

Dr. Eleanor Green, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has taken up the responsibility of offering advice on the care of Bentley, the one-year-old dog belonging to Nina Pham, a Dallas-based nurse who contracted Ebola.
Bentley was placed into a “testing phase” Monday where he will be tested for Ebola through examination of his feces until the end of his 21-day quarantine period around Nov. 1.
Green and a team of qualified veterinarians will create procedures to monitor dogs possibly exposed to the deadly virus based on their findings from Bentley.
“Bentley is not a research animal,” Green said. “However, we have a lot to learn from him. He is the first dog in the United States exposed to Ebola.”
Pham, the 26-year-old Dallas nurse who helped treat Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed on U.S. soil, contracted the virus from Duncan a few weeks ago. Her dog, Bentley, was put into quarantine as a precaution following Pham’s diagnosis on Oct. 11.
Dr. Megan Palsa, executive director of communications, media and public relations for the College of Veterinary Medicine, has also been actively monitoring Bentley’s progress.
“Bentley shows no signs of the virus,” Palsa said. “We are doing everything we can to make sure he is well and happy, such as feeding him and giving him toys to play with.”
Palsa said there has not been a single dog that has contracted and transmitted the virus.
“So far, there has never been a confirmed case of a dog with Ebola,” Palsa said. “We are operating with Bentley purely out of caution.”
Green and her team are conducting their studies with the mindset that animals should be treated with the utmost medical care, similar to the intensity and efforts of how one would treat a human. This philosophy is a part of “One Health Initiative,” a collaborative effort Green started in 2011.
“One Health refers to that inextricable link between animal, human and environmental health,” Green said. “Bentley and his owner Nina demonstrate this.”
The care of animals is a pivotal step in uncovering new findings for any deadly outbreak of this caliber, Green said.
A&M veterinarians are very eager to play such a monumental role in the research of Ebola, Palsa said.
“At the College of Veterinary Medicine, we care very deeply about humans and animals,” Palsa said. “Ebola is a new virus, and we look forward to expanding the study of its effects.”
Green said she and her team have been working hard to ensure Bentley is healthy and treated humanely. So far, their efforts have been successful, she said. Green said Bentley is happy and healthy but there are still a lot of questions needing answers.
“Will Bentley shed the virus in his isolation period? Or will he develop unique antibodies without transmitting the disease? Has Ebola affected him at all? These findings will be very important in the future handling of pets,” Green said.

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