Monkeypox in dogs: Tips to protect your pet from the infection

In what is considered the first-ever case of monkeypox in a domesticated animal like a cat or a dog, an Italian greyhound is said to have caught the virus from its owners, a couple, who slept alongside with their pet, as per a report published last week in medical journal Lancet. The dog developed lesions and was subsequently diagnosed with the virus. Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease caused by monkeypox virus a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. (Also read: Monkeypox can spread to pet dogs, doctors report)

The symptoms can range from fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache while respiratory symptoms include sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough. A rash is also reported near the genitals or anus and on other body parts. The virus is transmitted from one person to the other by coming in contact with the infected person’s lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials. It is also increasingly spreading through sexual contact and many cases are being reported about gay men.

“The first reported case of a human-to-pet transmission was found in France in July. This case has established that the pets are at risk of catching the disease from their owners. Now that it has been proven that it is possible for pets to catch this infection from humans it has become all the more important to safeguard our pets against the same. The research is still going on as to which different animal species are at risk of getting this disease from humans, but dogs are able to get it,” says Dr Vinod Sharma, Head of Veterinary Services at DCC Animal Hospital.

Symptoms of monkeypox

The symptoms to look out for are fever, lethargy, joint pains, and skin lesions. If you or any family member has been diagnosed with monkeypox or experiencing the above symptoms it is absolutely necessary to keep your distance from your pet dog.

How to prevent your dog from monkeypox

“We need to be very careful about hygiene immunity. Any infected patient with monkeypox must avoid all direct contact with pets. This means no touching, hugging, cuddling, or sharing sleeping space,” shared Dr. Vinod Sharma, Head of Veterinary Services, DCC Animal Hospital.

Since pets, especially dogs, are fond of all sorts of physical displays of affection, if you do suspect that you have monkeypox and have so far not been exposed to your pet it will be advisable that you find someone to take in your pet for a few weeks till the symptoms subside.

“The isolation period for monkeypox is from 2-4 weeks. Once your skin lesions look visibly healed, clean and disinfect your home, wash your beddings and then bring back your pet home or near you,” says the veterinary doctor.

Dr Sharma also shared that it is extremely important in such a scenario to maintain good hygiene at your home and give good nutrition and exercise to your pets to maintain a good immune system.

Until further research yields any more information, we should keep in mind the above to safeguard our pets against this disease.

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