Are you worried about monkeypox and the possibility that your dog might get it? Learn more about monkeypox and how to keep your pets safe in this article.
10/22/2022 | Sniff & Bark
After several cases of monkeypox were confirmed in the UK, a monkeypox outbreak was confirmed in May 2022. Since then, there have been over 64,000 cases worldwide with nearly 25,000 of them in the United States.
In a world where most of us are still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19, it’s only natural to worry about what this new virus might mean for us and our beloved pets.
While the last virus left many of us wondering can dogs get COVID, this new bout of monkeypox understandably has many dog owners wondering, “can dogs get monkey pox?”
The short answer is yes, your pets can get it. In fact, the first human-to-pet transmission was recorded in Taiwan as early as June, just one month after the outbreak was declared.
As caring dog parents, the best thing we can do for our pets is to be aware of health risks and what we can do to minimize them. This post will help you stay informed and let you know what to do if you suspect that your dog might have it.
What Is Monkeypox?
While the outbreak was declared last June, monkey pox isn’t a new virus. Experts believe that it has been around for thousands of years with most infections happening in the African region.
Humans and monkeys are common hosts of the virus but it primarily affects primates and rodents in central and west African rainforests. Animals that can get monkeypox include but aren’t limited to monkeys, apes, rodents, domestic dogs, and rabbits.
While researchers have yet to identify what caused the more recent surge in cases, many hypothesize that it’s due to the rise in travel after the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Why Is It Called Monkeypox?
Monkeypox received its name because the disease was first identified among monkeys in 1958. Its first human host on record was later diagnosed in 1970.
Monkey pox symptoms in humans include a series of rashes that take time to heal, chills, fever, exhaustion, and more.
What does monkeypox look like in animals? The full list of symptoms in animals has yet to be established but its current list of symptoms includes:
- Poor appetite
Rashes or “monkeypox bumps,” usually on the face, tail, limbs, and soles
- Secretions and crusting near the eyes and nose
How Long Does the Illness Last in Dogs?
Since there haven’t been enough cases of monkeypox in canines, there is little information on how long the disease takes to run its course in dogs. However, the rash it typically causes is known to last between four and six weeks in animals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises owners who think their pets may have contracted the illness to contact their veterinarians. This is especially applicable to pets that have been exposed to the virus in the last 21 days.
How Can I Keep My Dog From Getting Monkeypox?
Remember that monkeypox can be transmitted through intimate contact. Physical contact with an infected person or animal’s rashes and body fluids such as respiratory secretions can result in infection. It can also be spread by touching items and surfaces that a patient has used.
So, if you suspect that you have monkeypox, stay away from your dog for at least 21 days. If you’re infected, it’s best not to cuddle or have any contact with it until you’re fully recovered. People who sleep with their dogs should make alternate sleeping arrangements.
If you know someone who can care for your dog while you’re sick, it’s best to ask for their help until you’re well again.
Is There a Monkeypox Vaccine for Dogs?
There has yet to be a cure for monkeypox whether for humans or animals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, has approved two vaccines for smallpox that may prevent the disease.
There is currently also no monkeypox cure or course of treatment for the monkeypox virus.
What Should I Do if My Dog Might Have Monkeypox?
If you think that your dog might have contracted monkeypox, it’s important not to panic. The CDC provides the following guidelines for suspected animal transmissions:
- Consult your vet and have your pet tested for the disease, especially if it has had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed or shows probable symptoms. If a monkeypox case is confirmed, your veterinary professional can report it to your state’s public health veterinarian.
- If you have other pets in your home, separate it from uninfected animals and people.
- Young children, pregnant women, and anyone whose immune system is compromised should not take care of or be around a sick dog.
- Protect yourself from getting the disease by washing your hands regularly. Wear PPEs or personal protective equipment around a sick pet. PPEs include safety glasses and other eye protection, gloves, medical masks, and disposable gowns. In the absence of PPEs, wear anything that covers the skin, especially rashes, as much as possible
- Wash your clothes as soon as possible after contact. You should also wash and disinfect your pet’s enclosures, food bowls, and bedding to prevent the virus from spreading.
- When decontaminating your hands, use an alcohol-based solution or thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water.
A Word of Reassurance: Infectious But Not Deadly
Monkeypox can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. Transmission can also occur within the same species. Despite the high rate of infections, it’s important to note that the monkeypox virus is often not lethal.
In people, the rate of death from the 2022 outbreak is at 0.03% — much lower than COVID-19. Monkeypox death among animals is “rare” though a few infant monkeys have died from it.
It’s also important to remember that monkeypox cases in dogs are few and far in between. Though there have been some reported incidents where dogs contracted the disease, they are still isolated and rare.
Despite infections spreading quickly among people, the outlook for our beloved pets is actually bright and reassuring. While it helps to be aware of monkeypox’s symptoms and how to prevent it from spreading, there are no reasons for us to seriously worry about the health of our pets.
As long as we practice regular hygienic practices and engage in practical precautions, we’re likely to have healthy and disease-free pets!