Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Exotic pets can also bring exotic diseases with them.(Final)

Byline: The Bugman Richard Fagerlund For the Journal

Q: With monkeypox now being spread around the country by prairie dogs, will it affect other pets such as hamsters, gerbils and pet rats? -- S.B., Albuquerque

A: I don't have any idea, but I would imagine it is possible. I also have no idea why anyone would keep prairie dogs as pets. They are social animals that do well only in the company of other prairie dogs. They are not bred for captivity but are captured wild and sold to pet shops. The prairie dogs did not generate this disease, they caught it from a Gambian giant rat and God only knows why anyone would want to keep one of those for a pet.

The more we import exotic animals for "pets" the more likely we will import more exotic diseases, and the next time it may not be as mild as monkeypox apparently is. …

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