Monkeypox in Animals

Image of several prairie dogs grouped together around their tunnel opening

Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can spread between animals and people, and is caused by Monkeypox virus, an Orthopoxvirus. While the animal reservoir is unknown, small mammals (e.g. rope and sun squirrels, giant-pouched rats, African dormice) are thought to maintain the virus in the environments of West and Central Africa. People can get infected with the virus through direct contact with infected animals, often while hunting, trapping, and processing infected animals or the infected body parts and fluids of animals. Small mammals can carry the virus, sometimes without apparent symptoms, while non-human primates can get sick with monkeypox and have signs of disease like humans. In 2003, an outbreak of monkeypox in domesticated prairie dogs occurred after they shared bedding and caging with a shipment of infected small mammals from West Africa. This led to 47 human cases in 6 states in the United States. Instances of animal-to-animal and animal-to-person spread, such as the 2003 outbreak, demonstrate the need to reduce the risk of secondary infections to and from animals by isolating infected people as well as exposed and infected animals.  

What we know about monkeypox in animals

  • Monkeypox virus can infect a wide range of mammal species, including monkeys, anteaters, hedgehogs, prairie dogs, squirrels, shrews and dogs.
  • There has been a single report of sick people transmitting Monkeypox virus to animals (a dog).
  • We are still learning which species of animals can get monkeypox. While we do not know if reptiles, amphibians, or birds can get monkeypox, it is unlikely since these animals have not been found to be infected with other orthopoxviruses.
  • Not all animals may have a rash when they have monkeypox.
  • Infected animals can spread Monkeypox virus to people, and it is possible that people who are infected can spread Monkeypox virus to animals through close contact, including petting, cuddling, hugging, kissing, licking, sharing sleeping areas, and sharing food.
  • Monkeypox virus can be found in the rash caused by monkeypox (scabs, crusts, fluids) and infected bodily fluids, including respiratory secretions, and potentially in urine and feces.

Monkeypox in pets and other animals

We are still learning about which mammals are susceptible to infection. We should assume any mammal can be infected with Monkeypox virus. The table shows which animals can be infected with Monkeypox virus or other closely related orthopoxviruses.

Type of rodents

Type of rodents

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Prairie dogs

Prairie dogs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Squirrels

Squirrels

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Marmots and groundhogs

Marmots and groundhogs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Chinchillas

Chinchillas

Yes

Yes

Unknown

Unknown

Giant-pouched rats

Giant-pouched rats

Yes

Yes

Unknown

Unknown

Gerbils

Gerbils

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Hamsters

Hamsters

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Mice

Mice

Possibly*

Possibly*

Yes

Yes

Rats

Rats

Possibly*

Possibly*

Yes

Yes

Type of rodents

Prairie dogs

Squirrels

Marmots and groundhogs

Chinchillas

Giant-pouched rats

Gerbils

Guinea pigs

Hamsters

Mice

Rats

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Possibly*

Possibly*

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Type of carnivores

Type of carnivores

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Dogs

Dogs

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Cats

Cats

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Type of carnivores

Dogs

Cats

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Unknown

Unknown

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Yes

Yes

Type of lagomorphs

Type of lagomorphs

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Domestic rabbits

Domestic rabbits

Adults: possibly*

Adults: possibly*

Yes

Yes

Type of lagomorphs

Domestic rabbits

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Adults: possibly*

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Yes

Type of insectivores

Type of insectivores

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs

Yes

Yes

Unknown

Unknown

Shrews

Shrews

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Type of insectivores

Hedgehogs

Shrews

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Yes

Yes

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Unknown

Yes

Type of non-human primates 

Type of non-human primates 

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Monkeys

Monkeys

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Apes

Apes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Type of non-human primates 

Monkeys

Apes

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Yes

Yes

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Yes

Yes

Type of domestic and farm animals

Type of domestic and farm animals

Can be infected with monkeypox? 

Can be infected with monkeypox? 

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Cows

Cows

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Camels

Camels

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Goats

Goats

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Sheep

Sheep

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Pigs

Pigs

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Type of domestic and farm animals

Cows

Camels

Goats

Sheep

Pigs

Can be infected with monkeypox? 

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Yes

Yes

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Type of wildlife

Type of wildlife

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Raccoons

Raccoons

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Skunks

Skunks

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Voles

Voles

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Badgers

Badgers

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Coyotes

Coyotes

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Foxes

Foxes

Unknown

Unknown

Yes

Yes

Type of wildlife

Raccoons

Skunks

Voles

Badgers

Coyotes

Foxes

Can be infected with monkeypox?

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Unknown

Can be infected with other orthopoxviruses?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

*Indicates that not all animals of this type are susceptible, this may vary by species, and variety or strain of the animal. 

One published report suggests dogs may be susceptible to Monkeypox virus. However, follow-up investigations did not establish disease in the reported animal. Further research and surveillance are needed to determine whether dogs are susceptible.

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