Can Dogs Get Monkeypox? – Dogster


As the number of monkeypox cases grows in the U.S. and around the world, many dog parents are asking, “Can my dog get monkeypox?” or “Can I give my dog monkeypox?” and even “Can I get monkeypox from my dog?” Let’s examine the facts about monkeypox in dogs and how you can keep your family safe.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus related to human smallpox. After human smallpox was globally eradicated in 1980, monkeypox has become a most important public health virus and is closely monitored worldwide. Monkeypox is a viral infection in many mammals, particularly nonhuman primates and African rodents.

Monkeypox gets its name because it was first discovered in research monkeys in 1958. In addition to nonhuman primates (monkeys and apes), African rodents (such as rope squirrels, tree squirrels, African giant pouched rats and dormice) may also harbor the virus. While African rodents are suspected to be the main monkeypox virus carrier, this has yet to be confirmed.

Even though monkeypox can infect many animal species, monkeypox virus has only been found twice in the wild: First from a rope squirrel and then from a mangabey. Both animals were found in central or west Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the U.S. and other non-endemic regions, scientists are concerned about spillover of monkeypox to wildlife from infected people or domestic mammals, stressing the importance of infection control measures to contain the disease.

In the U.S., monkeypox transmission to humans from animals was documented in a 2003 outbreak in prairie dogs, a pet squirrel species. The prairie dogs were infected after being housed near small mammals imported from Ghana. This was the first time human monkeypox had been reported outside of Africa.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox in humans?

People can catch monkeypox from animals, but the chance of this happening in the U.S. is currently low. Based on how monkeypox has spread outside Africa, it appears you have a higher risk of contracting monkeypox from another person.

In humans, monkeypox causes fever, swollen lymph nodes, flu-like symptoms and a rash often around the genitals, hands, feet, chest, face or mouth. The rash often looks like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Some people may experience all of these symptoms, a combination of clinical signs or only a rash.

Symptoms of monkeypox in humans usually start within three weeks of viral exposure. If an infected person develops flu-like symptoms, they typically develop a rash one to four days later.

Monkeypox is contagious from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs are gone and a healthy layer of skin has formed. Human monkeypox infection typically lasts two to four weeks.

Can I spread monkeypox to my dog?

Dogs are susceptible to monkeypox. In Paris, France, the first confirmed case of canine monkeypox was from a Greyhound living with two humans infected with the monkeypox virus.

Monkeypox outbreak concept. Message paper quarantine to home isolation during monkeypox virus epidemic.
If you become infected with monkeypox, avoid contact with your dog for at least 21 days to keep from spreading it to him. ©somboon kaeoboonsong /Getty Images

Other pets may also be vulnerable to monkeypox.

If you become infected with monkeypox, do not surrender, euthanize or abandon your pet because of potential exposure.

Monkeypox transmission from infected people to dogs may occur through close contact, such as:

  • Hugging
  • Kissing
  • Licking
  • Sharing beds

To keep your dogs safe, people with symptoms of monkeypox, particularly the monkeypox rash (pox-like skin sores), should avoid all contact with animals.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox in dogs?

The signs of monkeypox in dogs are similar to symptoms of many common infectious diseases. Infected dogs with monkeypox may develop:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Red eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Lethargy
  • Poor appetite

If these signs occur in your dog, and he has had no known exposure to someone with monkeypox, it is highly unlikely to be monkeypox. Have your dog examined by your veterinarian to determine the cause of illness.

If your pet develops at least two of these signs or a pimple-or blister-like rash within 21 days after contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox, immediately contact your veterinarian. They will advise you on what to do, including testing to confirm if your dog has the monkeypox infection.

Is there a treatment or cure for monkeypox in dogs?

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections in humans or dogs. Because monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections in humans. Treatment for infected dogs will be determined by the attending veterinarian.

If you are worried your dog has monkeypox:

  • Keep your dog separate from all other animals, including wildlife.
  • Minimize contact with people for at least 21 days after the first clinical signs first appeared or until your pet has fully recovered.
    • Do not share beds, furniture or engage in close contact of any kind with your dog during the 21-day period.
    • This is especially important for households with people who are immunocompromised, pregnant or younger than 8 years, and those who have a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema.
  • Do not bathe or clean your dog with alcohol, bleach or other non-dog safe cleansing agents, solutions or shampoos
  • Follow all CDC recommendations to protect others in the home from infection.

If someone in your home has monkeypox, take these steps to protect your dog from getting monkeypox:

  • If the infected person did NOT have close contact with your dog after developing symptoms, have the dog stay with friends or family members outside the home until the infected person has recovered fully.
  • If that person DID have close contact, keep your dog at home and away from people and other animals for 21 days after the last possible contact with the infected person.
  • If possible, have another person in the home care for your dog until the infected person has fully recovered and been cleared by his doctor.
  • Your dog may need to be isolated in a facility outside the home if there are people at risk of severe disease: immunocompromised, pregnant, children younger than 8 years old or household members with a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema.
  • Follow all CDC recommendations to protect others in the home from infection.
    • Hand hygiene – the use of an alcohol-based hand rub or hand washing with soap and water – should be used by people with monkeypox and household contacts after touching rash material, clothing, linens or environmental surfaces that may have had contact with rash material.
    • Cover all skin rashes as much as possible by wearing long sleeves or long pants. Gloves can be considered for covering rash on the hands when not in isolation.
    • People with monkeypox should use well-fitting source control (e.g., medical mask), if close contact with others cannot be avoided, such as when receiving medical care.
    • Other household members should wear a respirator or a well-fitting mask when in close contact (e.g., within 6 feet) with the person with monkeypox for more than a brief period.

Humans can spread monkeypox to dogs, but by watching out for the onset of monkeypox symptoms, and avoiding close contact with your dog while infected, you can help stop the spread of the monkeypox virus.

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