The dog developed sores, and one of its owners tested positive for monkeypox.
According to the report, the men said they allowed their dogs to sleep on their beds and were careful to keep the pets away from other animals or people until their symptoms began — until the dog’s symptoms began.
“To our knowledge, the kinetics of symptom onset in both patients and subsequently in their dog suggest human-to-dog transmission of monkeypox virus,” the report’s authors wrote. “Given the dog’s skin and mucosal lesions, as well as positive monkeypox PCR results from anal and oral swabs, we hypothesize that the virus is a true canine disease rather than a human-to-human or airborne transmission (or both).”
The authors suggested that the study should prompt a discussion about whether pets should be isolated from their owners if they become infected with monkeypox, and they called for further research.
New but not surprising information, says WHO
Lewis said animal-to-human transmission of the virus has previously been reported, referring to the monkeypox outbreak in the United States in which humans contracted the virus through pets.
“On a number of levels, this is new information,” he said. “This is not surprising information, and it is something we are cautious about.”
He noted that experts within the World Health Organization are working with partners such as the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization to solve the problem.
“Notices that have not been given so far are to isolate pets from potentially infected family members,” he said. “It was an example of a cautious approach, a cautionary statement, because we’ve never had an incident like this before, it’s not been reported before, but it was a reasonable, cautious statement. Now we’re going to be careful in the first case that actually happened.”
Lewis said it’s unclear whether an infected dog can transmit the virus back to humans. But sometimes, even if they don’t have all the evidence, public health professionals need to find the most useful statements that allow people to assess their level of risk.
“This is an example where most pets aren’t at risk, it’s just those who are in the household of an infected person,” he said.
The CDC says infected people should stay away from animals
“We are still learning which animal species are most susceptible to monkeypox,” the agency said. “We don’t know whether reptiles, amphibians or birds can get monkeypox, but these animals have not been found to be infected with other orthopoxviruses.”
The agency advises people with monkeypox to avoid contact with animals, including pets.
Pets that have been in close contact with a person with monkeypox symptoms should stay indoors and away from other animals and people for 21 days after the last contact, the CDC said. Infected people should not approach pets; they should ask someone else in the house to look at it if possible.
If an infected person and pet are not in close contact after the onset of symptoms, the CDC recommends asking someone living elsewhere to care for the pet until the virus has fully recovered.