Golden retriever dog walking on leash

Welfare and Behaviour

Pets and the monkeypox virus: what pet owners need to know

A recent report has identified human-dog transmission of monkeypox, so it is important for pet owners to take precautions to reduce the risk of transmission to animals and avoid causing undue stress on pets or people. 

Currently, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus. However, as leading organisations such as the OIE continue to monitor the situation, experts advise owners to take the following steps:  

1. Consider removing the pet from household if you are certain the animal has not been exposed to the virus.  

2. Keep the pet in the house and use strict isolation measures:  

  • Contact with skin lesions probably poses the biggest risk, but other types of contact must also be considered. The degree of risk from aerosol transmission is still unknown. 

  • If there are uninfected (or not known to be infected) people in the household, they should be the animal’s primary caregiver. 

  • Keep the pet away from skin lesions. 

  • Keep skin lesions covered, whenever possible. 

  • Limit contact with the pet as much as possible. 

  • Keep the pet in a separate room as much as possible (being practical and considering the pet’s welfare) 

  • Keep the pet away from bandages, clothing or other materials that have come into contact with the skin, especially skin lesions. 

  • Don’t let the pet on furniture that people use. 

  • Limit the amount of time in the same airspace. 

  • Don’t let the pet sleep in the same bedroom as people. 

  • Practice good hand hygiene, especially before any animal contact and contact with things like food and water bowls. 

  • Maximise ventilation in the house and if possible, have a HEPA filter running in areas where infected people tend to spend time (especially in the pet is in the same area). 

 

3. Make sure to practice these measures until you are no longer infectious, which is often after 21 days.

Speak to your veterinarian about this timeline to reduce your pet’s risk of getting infected. 

 

Dr. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, shares blog for more information on his educational blog.