Signs, symptoms that your dog or cat may be infected

  • Although it’s possible for pets to get monkeypox, health experts say it’s rare.
  • Scientists have reported a case of monkeypox in an Italian greyhound in Paris, France.
  • Symptoms of monkeypox in pets include fatigue, lack of appetite, coughing, bloating, fever, and rash.

As U.S. health officials struggle to contain the monkeypox outbreak, some pet owners are wondering if their four-legged friends might be at risk.

Researchers found it was possible after identifying a case of monkeypox in a dog in Paris, France, according to a study published in The Lancet last week.

The dog may have acquired the infection from its owners, according to the case study, who are two men who have sex with men. Twelve days after they started showing symptoms, lesions appeared on their Italian Greyhound.

The study authors suggest the dog may have been infected while sleeping with its owners. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say monkeypox can be spread by touching fabrics like bedding.

Armed with that information, here’s everything the experts want you to know to keep your canine or feline friend safe.

Can my pet get monkeypox?

Although The Lancet study shows it’s possible for pets to get monkeypox, health experts say it’s rare.

“The risk is extremely low,” said Dr. Lori Teller, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “The way our pets would most likely catch it is through extremely close contact.”

So far, no cases have been reported in cats, guinea pigs or hamsters, but Teller said research shows rabbits and mice can pick up the virus. A 2003 outbreak of monkeypox in the United States also showed that prairie dogs can contract the virus, the CDC said.

Signs, symptoms of monkeypox in pets

The CDC said potential signs of illness in pets include fatigue, lack of appetite, coughing, nasal discharge or crusting, bloating and fever.

However, “it’s important to keep in mind that these are common symptoms of many respiratory illnesses or viral infections,” Teller said.

Even the distinctive monkeypox lesions, which can appear as a pimple-like or blister-like rash, “can look like so many things,” she said.

If a rash or two other clinical symptoms appear on a pet within 21 days of exposure, the CDC urges people to notify their veterinarian for professional evaluation.

How long does the monkeypox rash last? :A visual guide to the evolution of monkeypox rash.

What should I do if my pet has monkeypox?

If a pet has probable or confirmed monkeypox, health experts recommend separating it from other animals and minimizing direct contact with people for at least 21 days, if symptoms resolve.

Owners should wash their hands frequently and use personal protective equipment like gloves, eye protection, a properly fitted mask and disposable gown when caring for or cleaning up after sick animals, according to CDC guidelines.

If a disposable gown is not available, the agency recommends wearing clothing that fully covers the skin. After handling the animal and its belongings, remove and wash contaminated clothing immediately. Other precautions include dedicating a lined trash can to dispose of contaminated waste and disinfecting bedding, enclosures and food dishes after direct contact.

Teller said owners should avoid direct physical contact as much as possible, but still recommends taking pets outside for exercise.

“We know the spread of monkeypox comes with very close contact,” she said. “If you walk your dog…he’s unlikely to have close contact with other animals or people.”

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What NOT to do if an animal is infected

First and foremost, health experts say Americans should not return, euthanize or abandon pets with potential exposure or confirmed monkeypox.

“We’ve seen people abandon their pets during COVID even though the risk was extremely low,” Teller said. “So we don’t want that to happen again with monkeypox.”

The CDC also warns against wiping or bathing a pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other cleaners.

I have monkeypox: how can I protect my pet?

If the animal has not been exposed, Teller recommends having a friend or family member care for the animal in a separate home while the person with monkeypox remains isolated for the duration. of his illness.

The CDC does not recommend leaving a pet with another caretaker if the person with monkeypox has had close contact with the animal, including petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas, and sharing food.

Pets that have had close contact should be kept home and away from other animals and people for 21 days. If possible, the CDC recommends that another household member care for the animal.

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If an infected pet owner needs to care for their healthy pet during isolation, Teller said the person should wash their hands before and after caring for them. She said it’s important to wear clothes that cover the rash, gloves and a properly fitting mask.

Owners should also make sure their pets cannot inadvertently come into contact with contaminated fabrics like sheets, towels and clothing, the CDC said. It is also important to ensure that the pet’s food, toys, bedding or other objects do not come into direct contact with the owner’s skin or an uncovered rash.

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

Coverage of patient health and safety at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial contributions.

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