With over 11,000 confirmed monkeypox cases in the United States, there has been concern about how this virus could affect animals. As monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, it can be passed between humans and animals, like Lyme Disease and the Swine Flu.
The most common animals to carry the virus are rodents, dogs, primates, hedgehogs and shrews (NPR), and while it is rare for owners to pass monkeypox onto their pet, Offleash’d wants you to be prepared for any kind of scenario. We have compiled a quick guide to identifying the symptoms of this virus in your pet, and how to remain safe should you or your pet become infected.
In humans, monkeypox symptoms usually appear in the form of flu-like symptoms, along with swollen lymph nodes and a blister-like rash. If you start to experience any of these symptoms, avoid hugging, kissing, and sharing food or a bed with your pet, as the virus is spread through close contact. (CDC)
Animals may display fatigue, coughing, nasal secretions, or a blister-like skin rash. These can also be signs of a variety of illnesses in animals, so consult your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
Caring for Yourself and Your Pet
According to the CDC, there is no specific treatment for monkeypox. If you believe you have been infected, the first step is to make an appointment with your healthcare provider. They will decide if you need to be tested for monkeypox.
If you or your pet comes in contact with an infected person or animal, isolation is the first step. Ideally, the pet would be cared for by someone who has not been infected with the virus, but if that is not an option, there are ways to limit transference.
Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after interacting with your pet and be sure to disinfect all bedding and surfaces. Cover any skin affected with the rash with long sleeves and pants, and wear gloves and a mask whenever possible. DO NOT wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other products, such as hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners. (CDC)
There is still a lot to learn about monkeypox, especially how it affects the animals in our lives. Continue to be vigilant in looking out for symptoms and always consult a physician or veterinarian if you think you have been infected.
Stay healthy, friends!