excalibur Ebola dog
Animal rights activists have clashed with police in a bid to save the dog's lifeGetty

Animal rights advocates have staged a protest in the streets of Spain to prevent the dog of Teresa Romero Ramos, a nurse's assistant who tested positive to Ebola in Madrid, from being killed.

The dog, named Excalibur, was taken by authorities after a court order allowed them to enter Romero Ramos's premises to take the pet, on suspicions that he might have contracted the deadly virus too.

Protests erupted outside the woman's apartment in Alcorcon, briefly stopping a police van pulling away with the animal.

Demonstrators chanted "assassins" while trying to stop the police from driving away with the dog.

Romero Ramos's husband, Javier Limon Romero, had launched a plea to save the dog and hundreds of netizens joined Twitter campaign #SalvemosAExcalibur, or Let's Save Excalibur, to urge the authorities to spare the dog's life. Nearly 400,000 people also signed an online petition.

Romero Ramos also told Spanish newspaper El Mundo that there was no indication that Excalibur was infected with Ebola.

However, the dog was put down on Wednesday [9 October].

Researchers have said dogs can transmit the deadly virus to humans, while previous research has shown the animals do not get sick from Ebola and that the virus can be cleared from the animal.

Romero Ramos, who is in quarantine with her husband, worked as a nursing assistant in Madrid's Carlos III hospital and assisted two missionaries who died from Ebola after returning from Sierra Leone in West Africa.

According to latest developments, she contracted the virus when she touched her face with the gloves she used to attend one of the two missionaries.

She was the first person believed to have contracted the virus outside west Africa, where the disease has killed more than 3,400 people since last January.

Reports emerged on Tuesday 7 October that two other people suspected of being infected were admitted to hospital in Spain.