Canine Brucellosis is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacteria in dogs called Brucella Canis. It resides in a dog’s reproductive organs. Brucellosis is one of the main causes of failure in dogs reproductive organs. It is a leading cause of late abortions which occur forty five to fifty five days of gestation It may be the cause of a bitch delivering stillborn puppies or puppies that sicken and die soon after birth. It can cause sterility in a male and female dog without causing obvious signs of the disease.
Dogs with active infectious bacteria may show enlargement of the lumpy nodes in the groin or below the jaw in association with febrile illness. Eye inflammation may be seen in both sexes. The dog’s joints may become swollen and painful. The male’s testicles may swell up, then go on to atrophy as the sperm producing cells are destroyed. In some dogs, the disease goes unsuspected until there is evidence of reproductive failure. These dogs are in a carrier state, but are able to transmit infection. The dog bacterial infection may be found in the prostrate gland of the male, and in the female’s uterus and vagina.
Sexual intercourse is the most common mode of transmission. In a kennel, it can spread from dog to dog through contact with infected secretions.
To see if the dog has the disease, you should have a rapid serum agglutination slide test done on the dog. The test for Brucellosis can be done in the most veterinary clinics with results back the same day. All dogs should have a brucella test before mating. The owner of the stud should always request a veterinarian’s certificate showing that the visiting female has been tested and found free of brucellosis before the dogs are allowed to run together. False positive test do occur. They indicate the need for more detailed laboratory test and cultures.
At present there is no effective treatment or vaccine for the prevention or cure of brucellosis in dogs. Long term treatment with antibiotics may be used, but a relapse is likely to occur when the drugs are stopped. To keep pet dogs from transmitting the disease they should be spayed or castrated.
To control the spread of brucellosis in kennels, all dogs must be tested and infected ones removed from the premises. A follow up test should be done every three months to identify new cases.
Humans can contact brucellosis if they come in contact with contaminated animals. Gloves should be worn when handling dogs suspected of having this disease.