Monkeypox, which has more than 11,800 cases in the current outbreak in the US, affects people with symptoms such as fever and rash.
But the virus is zoonotic, meaning it’s spread between animals and humans — and yes, you can give it to your pets, and vice versa. (However, there are currently no reports in the US of human-to-animal transmission of the virus.)
Monkeypox can be transmitted between you and your furry friend through close contact, including cuddling, cuddling, kissing, licking and sharing sleeping areas and food.
Animal carriers of the virus include several rodents, dogs, primates, hedgehogs and shrews, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What to do with your pet if you get monkey pox?
If the person contracting monkey pox has not had close contact with pets after showing symptoms, ask friends or relatives in a separate household to care for your pet until the person recovers.
Thoroughly disinfect your home before bringing your pet back in.
If the pet has had close contact with the infected person, the pet should be isolated from animals and other people for 21 days after the most recent exposure. However, the infected person shouldn’t be the one caring for the exposed pet, the CDC says.
If there are no other options and the person who contracted the virus needs to care for the pet, that person should:
- Wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after grooming them
- Cover rashes as much as possible by wearing long sleeves and pants
- Wear gloves and a mask or respirator while grooming the pet
What not to do with your pet if you get monkey pox
If you contract monkey pox, there are several things to avoid:
- Avoid close contact whenever possible.
- Do not vomit, euthanize, or abandon pets because of monkey pox exposure or contraction.
- Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, countertop wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners.
- Do not put a mask on your pet.
- Do not expose animals to skin rashes, bandages and body fluids.
What if your pet gets monkey pox?
The CDC said it doesn’t currently know all the symptoms that animals may exhibit, although there are some changes that pet owners should watch out for, such as:
- Lack of appetite
- Nasal secretions or scab
- bloated feeling
- A fever
- Pimple or blister-like rash
In addition, contact a veterinarian if an animal shows signs of infection within 21 days of exposure to the virus. A vet can test it and notify state officials.
If your pet begins to show symptoms, isolate it from other animals and minimize human contact for at least 21 days.
When caring for a sick animal, wash your hands regularly and use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as eye protection, a mask or respirator, gloves and a disposable coat.
If a dress is not available, use long-sleeved clothing. Remove and wash all clothing after exposure to the animal and its belongings. Remove all personal protective equipment when you are finished caring for the pet.
Pet feces should be kept in a special, lined trash can and should not be left outside or thrown away as this can increase the risk of spreading the virus to other animals.
Items that come into contact with the pet must be properly disinfected.