A dog caught monkeypox. What does it mean for our pets and other species?

Experts worry the disease could spread into animals, making it almost impossible to eradicate.

Published August 24, 2022

8 min read

A four-year-old Italian greyhound in Paris appears to be the first domestic dog infected with the monkeypox virus. Researchers reported that the animal broke out in suspicious blisters 12 days after its owners developed pus-filled lesions. Tests confirmed that the same strain of monkeypox infected one of the two men and their dog.

The virus, which transmits through physical contact, was declared an international health emergency in July. Cases currently number 44,503 across 96 countries and territories.

Given the closeness we share with our pets, “this was not unexpected,” says Colin Parrish, a professor of veterinary virology at Cornell University who studies newly emerging canine viruses. It’s been a theoretical risk because we pet and kiss our dogs, cuddle them on our laps, and share food with them. They lick us and often sleep with us, as the greyhound did with his owners, Parrish notes.

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