Search icon


29th May 2022

Pets may have to be culled to prevent spread of monkeypox, report claims

Kieran Galpin

Officials have said that euthanasia would be a ‘last resort’

Pets in the UK may have to be culled to prevent monkeypox’s further spread, which first reared its head on UK shores on May 7.

Officials fear that monkeypox, believed to have originated from raves in Europe, could infect pets and wild animals and then become endemic. A report from the European Centre for Disease Control urges people to isolate pets that may have caught the disease.

“Rodent pets should ideally be isolated in monitored facilities, complying with respiratory isolation (eg. a laboratory) and animal welfare conditions (e.g. government facilities, kennels or animal welfare organisations), and tested (by PCR) for exposure before quarantine ends,” it read.

Via Unsplash

The report did maintain that euthanasia would be a “last resort” where “testing and/or isolation are not feasible.”

The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss, told the Telegraph that no pet-related infections had been reported yet.

She added: “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with veterinary and public health colleagues, both in the UK and across the world, to manage the animal health associated risks with monkeypox.”

Similarly, Professor David Robertson, whose speciality is in viral research, told the outlet that exposure to pets is a “valid concern” but are less likely than humans to spread the infection.

“Rabbits and mice would be ones to watch, as they’re likely to be kept as pets,” he explained. “This virus does have quite a wide host range which is always worrying in terms of potential to establish in a new host species… it would seem sensible to monitor any animals/pets that infected people are in contact with.”

Related links: