- Wild animals, including rodents and primates, are known to get infected with monkeypox in countries where monkeypox is endemic.
- Now for the first time, a case of a pet dog getting monkeypox has been documented.
- The authors say the evidence shows the virus caused real canine disease and highlights the need for infected people to isolate themselves from their pets.
A pet dog appears to have contracted monkeypox from its infected owners, according to evidence published in the medical journal
Though there is prior evidence that wild animals can get monkeypox, this is the first known case of a pet dog contracting the monkeypox virus via human transmission, the report states.
More research is needed to understand the disease trajectory in dogs, however, the researchers state the evidence suggests people infected with monkeypox should isolate from their pets.
Dr. William Schaffner, the medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), says he was expecting to hear that monkeypox had spread to domesticated animals.
“I think that it’s going to be very uncommon, but it could have been anticipated because this is a virus that originates in the animal population, gets into humans, and is transmitted in humans usually in a very localized fashion in Africa, but obviously has broken out and now is being much more widely transmitted from person to person in Western Europe, Canada, and the United States,” Schaffner told Healthline.
Two men, ages 44 and 27, visited a hospital in France on June 10, 2022, with rashes, headaches, fatigue, and anal lesions.
The men, who live in the same household and are non-exclusive partners, developed anal ulcerations six days after having sex with other partners.
Twelve days after their symptoms appeared, their dog — a four-year-old Italian greyhound with no underlying health issues — developed mucocutaneous lesions, abdomen pustules, and an anal ulceration.
The dog’s lesions were swabbed via a PCR test and subsequently tested positive for monkeypox.
Viral sequencing demonstrated that the dog was infected with the same strain as one of its owners — a strain that has been spreading in non-endemic countries throughout 2022.
According to the report, the owners say they were careful to not spread the infection to their dog but did allow the dog to sleep in their bed.
Monkeypox is primarily spread through close contact and contaminated surfaces.
“We think the respiratory route is a less effective way to transmit it, and you really have to be close to a person for prolonged periods of time,” Schaffner said.
According to Schaffner, infected people who have lesions can shed infectious virus onto bedding, which can then pass the virus to others.
It’s also possible that the owners were affectionate with the dog and spread the infection from prolonged close contact.
“Here is an instance where a dog was in very close contact with two people who had monkeypox, who had obvious lesions, and it’s the lesions that are extremely infectious,” Schaffner said.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and an infectious disease expert, says monkeypox is primarily a zoonotic infection that arises from animals.
“We know that monkeypox can infect a variety of animals so it is not surprising,” Adalja said.
This is the first case of a domesticated animal being infected.
The authors say the evidence shows the virus caused real canine disease and highlights the need for infected people to isolate themselves from their pets.
“If you develop monkeypox, I think you need to keep your distance from your dog or cat,” Schaffner said.
That said, if you do not have the infection, there is no need to isolate yourself from your pets or worry about giving your pet the infection, Schaffner added.
More research is needed to understand how common this type of transmission is along with the prognosis in dogs.
New evidence shows that a pet dog appears to have contracted monkeypox from its infected owners. Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that originates in animals, so infectious diseases specialists are not surprised to hear that a domesticated dog has contracted the infection. Doctors say that infected individuals should isolate from their pets to avoid transmitting the virus to them.