First case of monkeypox virus in domesticated dog detected

A split image of a monekypox vaccine a microscopic image of monekypox infection.
The virus has been detected in a dog. Credit: AP

A dog has been diagnosed with monkeypox virus in the first case of suspected transmission of the disease from human to pets.

The four-year-old male Italian greyhound was reported to have been sleeping with its two male owners in France, according to medical journal The Lancet.

The dog tested positive for the monkeypox virus through a PCR test conducted by medical professionals after ulcers appeared on the dog's skin.

While transmission of the virus to wild animals, rodents and prairie dogs has been described, this is the first time a positive Monkeypox virus result has been reported for a domesticated pet.

The results are prompting scientists to debate the need to isolate pets from monkeypox virus-positive individuals.

"We call for further investigation on secondary transmissions via pets," they added.

What are the symptoms found in humans?

It usually takes between five and 21 days for the first symptoms of the infection to appear.

The first symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • a high temperature

  • a headache

  • muscle aches

  • backache

  • swollen glands

  • shivering (chills)

  • exhaustion

The dog's owners, who are two men who have sex with men, first took the dog to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris on June 10, 2022.

Just over 10 days later, symptoms including lesions on the abdomen appeared on the dog before researchers confirmed it also had monkeypox.

Although anyone can contract monkeypox, data collected by the agency suggests higher levels of transmission within sexually active gay and bisexual men.

It can take up to three weeks for symptoms to appear after being in contact with someone with monkeypox Credit: UK Health Security Agency/PA

Results from two samples taken from the dog contained virus of the hMPXV-1 clade, lineage B.1 which has infected more than 1,700 people in France.

The samples also show significant similarities to the virus that infected one of the dog's owners, which suggests human-to-dog transmission, scientists said.

It is still unclear as to whether domesticated cats and dogs are vectors themselves of the virus.

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