Bentley Update: Ebola Patient’s Dog Enters Testing Phase

OCT. 22, 2014 UPDATE: Bentley’s first test results show that he does not have Ebola, Dallas News reported this morning.

“Bentley will be monitored for a full 21-day period, similar to people exposed to the Ebola virus,” Dallas City Hall stated in a press release.

More good news: The condition of his dog mom, Nina Pham, has been upgraded from fair to good.

bentley ebola patient dogStarting today, Bentley, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel belonging to Ebola patient Nina Pham of Dallas, will be periodically tested for signs of the virus.

Three times during his 21-day quarantine period, Bentley will be placed in a special kennel for the purpose of collecting urine and feces samples.

The remainder of the time, he’ll stay in his kennel inside a home at the decommissioned Hensley Field, a naval air base owned by the city. He has a comfortable bed and lots of donated toys to play with.

“This is the least invasive and safest way to conduct the testing process for Bentley,” the City of Dallas stated in a press release.

Bentley was taken from Pham’s apartment by Dallas Hazmat Oct. 11. Since then, he has been under the care of Dallas Animal Services (DAS) in partnership with the state of Texas, Texas A&M University and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control.

Pham, who is hospitalized at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, has been provided with regular updates from Bentley’s team.

“We are hopeful that Bentley’s journey will contribute to what we know about Ebola and dogs, since they play such an important role in so many peoples lives,” Dr. Cate McManus, operations manager of DAS, said in the press release.

And hopefully Madrid health officials are keeping an eye on this case, so more dogs there won’t suffer the same fate as Excalibur, the rescue dog belonging to Teresa Romero Ramos, a nurse’s aide who, like Pham, contracted Ebola while treating a patient. (She is now free of the virus.)

Excalibur was euthanized two weeks ago, despite hundreds of thousands of requests to quarantine him instead. Officials insisted that “available scientific knowledge indicates there’s a risk the dog could transmit the deadly virus to humans.”

While it is possible for dogs to contract Ebola, there are no documented cases of them transmitting it to people. This is even less likely to occur in places (like Spain and the U.S.) where dogs aren’t usually around dead bodies and don’t eat infected animals, American Veterinary Medical Association spokeswoman Sharon Curtis Granskog told CBS News.

When it was discovered that Pham had a dog, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told USA TODAY, “This was a twist. The dog’s very important to the patient and we want it to be safe.”

To help cover the cost of Bentley’s care, as well as that of pets in similar emergency situations, the Dallas Pet Emergency Transition Services (PETS) fund has been established by the City of Dallas in partnership with the Dallas Companion Animal Project. To make a donation, click here.

Photos via Facebook

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!