What are the risks of pets catching monkeypox?
Specialists have discovered this is possible after identifying a case of monkeypox in a dog in Paris, France, according to a study published in The Lancet last week.
The study shows that the dog may have contracted the infection from its owners, two men who had sex with men. Twelve days after they started showing symptoms, lesions appeared on their Italian greyhound.
Researchers suggest that the dog may have been infected by sharing a bed with its owners. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox can be spread by touching fabrics such as bedding.
With all this information, please find out everything the experts want you to know to keep your canine or feline friend safe.
Is it possible that my pet can get monkeypox?
While the Lancet study shows that pets can contract monkeypox, health experts say it is rare.
“The risk is shallow,” said Dr. Lori Teller, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Our pets would most likely get it through extremely close contact.”
There are no reported cases in cats, guinea pigs or hamsters, but Teller said research shows that rabbits and mice can contract the virus. According to the CDC, a 2003 monkeypox outbreak in the US also led that prairie dogs can contract the virus.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox in pets?
Potentially, signs of illness in pets include fatigue, lack of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge or crusting, bloating and fever.
Nevertheless, “it is important to keep in mind that these are common symptoms of many respiratory diseases or viral infections,” said Teller.
Even the characteristic lesions of monkeypox, which can take the form of a pimple-like or blister-like rash, “can look like many things,” she added.
If a rash or two other clinical symptoms appear on a pet within 21 days of exposure, the CDC urges people to notify their veterinarian for a professional evaluation.