Information for pet owners on Canine Brucellosis
Canine brucellosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Brucella canis. This bacteria is currently not present in the dog population in the UK, however we are seeing increasing numbers of imported dogs arriving in the UK with this disease. Many dogs with brucellosis have no clinical signs, thus, unless you screen imported dogs cases, can easily be missed.
We worry about brucellosis in dogs for two reasons.
- Firstly, this is a zoonotic infection, which means that dogs can infect humans. The disease in people can be very serious, thus it is important we know if dogs are carrying the disease.
- Secondly, brucellosis in dogs is very hard, if not impossible, to treat effectively. Thus, dogs are assumed to be life-long carriers once they are infected which means they act as a source of infection to other dogs (and people).
As mentioned above, in many cases infected dogs are asymptomatic (show no signs), however Brucella canis can cause a variety of possible problems including inflammation of the joints (polyarthritis), infection of the intervertebral discs in the back (discospondylitis), enlarged lymph nodes, fever, vaginal or preputial discharge, abortion and testicular asymmetry.
At Davies Veterinary Specialists we take the potential risk of Brucella canis seriously due to the risk to our staff, to you and your family as well as other dogs in our care. Thus, we are screening dogs that have travelled to certain areas of the world where brucellosis is common using a patient-side test. If this in-house test is positive we will send additional blood away to a government laboratory for confirmation.
If you have further questions about canine brucellosis please do not hesitate to speak to the clinician in charge of your dog’s case.
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