Monkeypox virus & pets

24 June 2022

Over the past few weeks there have been an increasing number of cases of Monkeypox virus cases in people in Europe and the UK.

To date, there is no evidence of the virus currently affecting pets in the UK and human-to-human transmission is likely to be responsible for the burden of disease in people in the UK.

The virus can affect a range of species including domestic pets such as rodents, rabbits and non-human primates. Animals may show clinical signs if infected and pets which have been in contact with an infected owner, may act as a carrier (fomite) of the virus on their fur for a period of time, carrying the virus from one place to another.

Although currently the overall case numbers in the human population are relatively low, vets in practice may still encounter pets from Monkeypox positive households. BSAVA have collaborated with Government Departments including Defra, APHA and UKHSA, which advises on public health, to produce guidance that supports vets in small animal practice in such instances.

The Guidance covers a range of scenarios and advises on biosecurity measures, clinical signs if present and how to contact APHA as required. The Guidance is available here 

The Guidance also includes a link at Annex B for pet owners or individuals from monkeypox positive households who are self-isolating, on how best to care for their pets and what to do if their pet becomes ill and needs to be seen by a vet which is available here.