All about canine brucellosis


In this month’s article, we will be discussing a very contagious bacterial infection that occurs in dogs, known as ‘Brucellosis’

This infection is caused by the bacterium known as ‘Brucella canis’. It is a sexually transmitted disease, which primarily affects the reproductive system of dogs. Other methods of contracting the disease would be through inhalation, by sniffing any contaminated urine or other discharges), along with entry through the mucous membranes.

The disease is most commonly seen in intact male dogs. However, even females are susceptible to contracting the bacteria. Signs, related to the reproductive tract being affected, would present as abortions and infertility issues. Male dogs will present with epididymitis. They may experience an enlarged scrotum or testicle, with a rash present as well. Comparatively, female dogs will have their infection concentrated at their uterus, causing them to become infertile and abort in the last trimester of their pregnancy.

If you feel that your dog may be experiencing this condition, then we highly recommend a visit to your local veterinarian for a consult. Due to the highly contagious nature of this disease, it is important to also have any other canine companions, within the household, examined as well. If your veterinarian suspects that your dog may be presenting with Canine Brucellosis, then he or she may conduct a blood test, known as ‘Rapid Slide Agglutination Test’. In the case of your dog being confirmed positive for the disease, treatment would entail antibiotics. However, it is important to note that antibiotics will only help to control the spread of the infection. There is no recorded cure for this disease; therefore, once a dog is infected with this bacterium, he is infected for life.

Fortunately, Canine Brucellosis is rarely found within Canada; however, it is prevalently seen in the United States. If you are planning to travel to the states with your canine pet or move across the border, then it is important to keep these facts in mind. As mentioned, since an infected dog would be considered to be positive for life, it is vital to always test any breeding dogs for this bacterium, before allowing for the breeding process to take place. Any new dogs that are being introduced to a kennel system should also be tested in order to avoid the spread of the disease.

Another major point to note is that this disease is in fact zoonotic. Zoonotic diseases are those that can be spread from infected animals to humans. Transmission to humans is also through contact with contaminated discharges or blood. Therefore, those that are considered to be immunocompromised individuals, should avoid any dogs infected with this disease.

 Dr. Sifti Bhullar


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