How to protect your dog against monkeypox

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their monkeypox guidelines to include dogs as animals susceptible to contracting the virus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their monkeypox guidelines to include dogs as animals susceptible to contracting the virus.

This comes after the first suspected case of a dog contracting the virus from its owners in France.

“Originally, this virus was transmitted to humans from non-human animals in the endemic countries through close contact, so it’s really no surprise that other non-human animals that are pets can also get it,” says Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who is an infectious disease specialist.

dr Bogoch says it’s safe to assume your pet — whether a dog or cat — could get monkeypox from you if you have the virus.

dr Scott Weese, an infectious disease veterinarian, agrees.

“We’re finding more and more that we exchange a lot of bacteria and viruses with animals, and monkeypox was one that was really understudied. We didn’t know which species it could infect,” says Dr. Weese.

Based on the case in France, humans can transmit the virus to their dog, but what about the other way around?

“At this point we have to assume that a person who has infected an animal can possibly return it,” adds Weese.

So what should you do if you have monkeypox and you are also a pet owner?

dr Weese has this advice: “We want infected people to limit contact with animals as much as possible, don’t let them near your skin lesions, don’t cough on them, try to prevent that aerosol exposure and just keep as much distance as possible.” . If the animal has been exposed, we want to keep the animal away from other people in case they are infected.”

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Weese says ideally you should keep a pet that has been exposed to monkeypox away from others for at least 21 days, which is the same recommendation for humans.

Medical experts say most people recover from monkeypox without needing treatment, but the lesions can be extremely painful. Severe cases can lead to complications, including encephalitis and death.

Weese says he’s confident animals won’t cope with poor results.

“We’ve only had one dog so far and he’s been infected fairly lightly and I think a lot of these viruses are really different in what they can do to different species of animals. Dogs are not really a natural host for this virus, cats are probably not natural hosts. We can hope that they will only get very mild infections,” says Weese.

The infectious diseases vet says this virus is a man-made epidemic. So the best way to protect your animal is to reduce the human-to-animal spread. He adds that walking your uninfected dog or going to a dog park is a low-risk activity.

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