Things have been pretty quick regarding monkeypox in domestic animals lately. Whether that’s because human case numbers are dropping and human-animal infection is rare, or whether it’s because there’s not enough surveillance isn’t clear. I suspect it’s a combination of the two. Our surveillance has been really slow since it’s been hard to recruit participants, but I doubt that human-pet transmission of monkeypox is very common.

Regardless, uncommon doesn’t mean irrelevant.

For vets, it brings up a new round of questions about potential occupational risks for vet personnel and the potential for vet clinics to spread the virus. Those concerns aren’t without foundation since pet-vet transmission of monkeypox was identified in the 2003 prairie dog-associated outbreak in the US.

When we don’t have much data, it can be a challenge to provide clear guidance but realistically, we can have a good idea of what control measures would be important based on basic understanding of monkeypox virus and infection control.

Like we did with COVID, we’ve teamed up to release some interim guidance for vets about monkeypox, this time in conjunction with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. The current version of Veterinary Clinics and Monkeypox is available here. It’s also downloadable as a pdf here.

As always, guidance might change. That’s actually a good thing…it shows we’re learning and improving. However, while we’re gathering more information, this is a good starting point to reduce the risk of monkeypox transmission to and from veterinary patients.