Brucellosis in dogs
Canine brucellosis is an extremely contagious bacterial infection, known as Brucella canis (B. canis). The bacterial infection is highly infectious between all breeds of dogs.
The Infected animal usually develops an infection of the reproductive system. The disease can also affect other species such as sheep, goats, cattle, deer, elk, pigs, and other animals.
Brucellosis is a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Although people can be infected, it is highly rare for a human pet owner, to get affected by the disease.
As to be infected, they would have to come in contact with bodily fluids from the infected animal. Such as blood, semen or urine.
Vets and dog breeders who are exposed to the blood or other bodily fluids of infected animals may be at an increased risk of developing an infection.
But, people with weak immune systems should avoid contact with an infected dog that has Canine brucellosis.
Let’s look at the symptoms of the disease, how it is diagnosed and treated in dogs, and how humans may catch the disease.
What are the symptoms of brucellosis?
Brucellosis in dogs causes reproductive problems such as unable to get pregnant and may even have abortions.
On many occasions, there will be few signs of any illness. The disease is most active in adult dogs, which are sexually intact.
Male dogs that become infected with brucellosis will develop epididymitis. Brucellosis will infect parts of the testicle. A dog that has just caught the disease will often have a swallow scrotum, an enlarged testicle and a skin rash.
The dog could become infertile. In chronic cases, the testicles will shrink over time.
Female dogs which are infected with the disease, can developer an infection in the uterus. Which means she can’t get pregnant or she may abort if in late stages of pregnancy.
A pregnant dog will have vaginal discharge. Often about 45-55 days of being pregnant or will give birth to stillborn or very weak puppies which may then die after a few days of birth.
How is canine brucellosis diagnosed?
To test for the disease, a Vet will need to perform a combination of tests to diagnose canine brucellosis. They will carry out a thorough physical examination and an evaluation of the dog’s health.
This will assess for any reproductive or spinal disease.
Canine brucellosis is often diagnosed by a simple blood test. The main blood test is known as rapid slide agglutination test or RAST.
It normally can detect infections after three to four weeks.
The test is used for screening of breeding dogs. Negative tests are normal unless the dog has recent exposure to the disease.
Any dog that tests false-positive with RAST should have a more advanced test carried out called an agar gel immunodiffusion test (AGID).
This test will identify infected animals between 12 weeks and one year post-infection.
Treating canine brucellosis in dogs
Antibiotics can sometimes be used to help control the initial infection, but no treatment or therapy is effective at eliminating the bacteria completely.
Any dog that has been infected with canine brucellosis should be considered to have it for life.
Surgical sterilization of the infected dog may reduce the risk to other dogs.
Can brucellosis be controlled?
Brucellosis in dog breeds can be found worldwide, but the USA, China and Japan are considered higher risk areas.
Because the disease is a massive threat to the breeding of dogs, all dogs used for breeding should be tested regularly. At least every 3-6 months, but this depends on exposure to other dogs.
Dogs with the disease should never be introduced directly into a kennel until they have been quarantined for at least 8-12 weeks.
Most experts recommend performing two blood tests up to four weeks apart, toward the end of the quarantine period.
Can people get Canine Brucellosis?
It is very rare for people to be infected and become sick with brucellosis. Most human cases of brucellosis are caused by consuming unpasteurized dairy products or eating undercooked meats. It is possible for humans to get this disease from dogs. AKC has a good read on this subject as well
People who work with dogs in breeding such as breeders, kennel workers or vets are at higher risk of exposure to the disease.
Those who come in contact with an infected dog will get extremely Ill. The disease in people is very similar to the disease in dogs.
Infection may happen by ingesting the bacteria or by small breaks in the skin. It will cause fever and serve damage to reproductive organs.
There is not a known cure for this infection in dogs. Antibiotics do not affect to eradicate the disease, as the infection often reappears.
The disease is zoonotic, which means it is capable of spreading to humans. So sometimes, euthanasia of the infected animals is recommended.
How can I protect myself from canine brucellosis?
Canine brucellosis can survive for months in any environment under certain conditions, but heat and disinfectant this will destroy the bacteria indefinitely.
Always sanitize and disinfect areas where infected dogs live, such as Kennels. And keep infected dogs away from others, to avoid the spreading of the disease.
Screening new dogs that are introduced into a breeding environment will also help to control the transmission of the disease. You may be interested in JLPP IN ROTTWEILERS