Mpox (monkeypox) and animals

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Risk of mpox (monkeypox) spreading between people and animals

The spread of mpox (monkeypox) in Canada is a result of person-to-person transmission of the virus.

Animals don’t currently play a role in the spread of mpox in Canada. However, if humans do spread the virus to animals, it may become:

Until we know more, avoid all contact with animals if you have confirmed or suspected mpox and are contagious. This includes:

The Public Health Agency of Canada is actively tracking, analyzing and investigating emerging science on mpox and animals.

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Animals susceptible to mpox (monkeypox)

Rodents and small mammals in Africa are thought to be reservoir hosts, including:

Other susceptible species include: 

Details are still limited, but there have been a small number of international reports of dogs that:

Globally, there have been no reports of mpox in:

However, all of these species can be infected with other kinds of orthopoxviruses that are related to mpox. Until we know more, we should assume that any mammal species could be infected with mpox.

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Pets and mpox (monkeypox)

Mpox primarily spreads to people or animals through direct contact with infected lesions or scabs. They may be found on any part of the body, such as the:

It can also spread through:

Some close contact activities that increase risk of spreading mpox between infected people and their pets include:

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How to keep your pets safe

Follow the advice of your local public health authority if you:

Have another member of your household care for your animals until you are no longer contagious, which is when your:

If this isn't possible, then at all times when caring for your animals:

You can also help to keep your animals safe if you:

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Caring for pets who may have mpox (monkeypox)

If you think your pet has been exposed to mpox, monitor them for 21 days after their last exposure.

This is similar to the incubation period for other orthopoxviruses that are related to mpox.

Call your veterinarian if your animal develops signs of mpox during this time or you have other concerns. Be sure to tell them your pet has been exposed to mpox.

If you’re caring for a pet that has been exposed, or is suspected or confirmed to have mpox, take precautions when handling the animal. Follow similar instructions as you would if caring for a person who has or may have mpox, including:

If your pet develops signs, or is confirmed to be infected with the virus, keep them away from other people and animals for whichever period is longer:

If possible, keep pets restricted to one area of the house and keep small, caged pets (such as rodents) in their enclosures.

Keep cats indoors at all times. Keep dogs on a leash at all times when leaving the home, and avoid areas where other animals or children might be, like parks.

Avoid moving exposed or infected animals to another household. This increases the risk of potentially spreading the virus to other places, people and animals.

Bag and dispose of any waste in a secure bin that wild animals cannot access. This includes:

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Signs of mpox (monkeypox) in animals

Some signs of mpox that have been reported in different animal species include:

Not all animals will develop a rash or skin changes. Some may show no signs at all.

Testing for mpox (monkeypox) in animals

Call your veterinarian if your animal appears sick within 21 days of having contact with a person who has or is suspected to have mpox.

They will give you further instructions and tell you if your pet needs to go to a clinic for testing.

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