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 Canine Brucellosis

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PostSubject: Canine Brucellosis   Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:18 am

Brucellosis is a disease spread by the bacteria in the genus Brucella. This disease can affect most any vertebrate animal including sheep, goat, elk, deer, pigs, and our wonderful companion friend, the dog.

Brucellosis is contagious and can be transmitted from one animal species to another through contact of contaminated animals or animal products. Vectors of contamination include eating, drinking, contact of bodily fluids, and on rare occasion through inhalation.

When Brucellosis is transmitted to humans it manifests itself into flue like symptoms such as fever, sweats, aches and pains, and weakness. Severe infections can affect the nervous system and lining of the heart. Symptoms do not usually last very long but can in some cases become chronic. Most cases in humans are a result of partaking in unpasturized milk, ice cream and cheeses. This most often occurs to Americans when visiting foreign countries and ingesting dairy products. Human to human infection can occur through transplants, breast feeding, and sexual interaction.

In canines the effects of Brucellosis are much more severe. The Brucellosis infection in the dog will affect its reproductive system. In the female this leads to abortion of inutero pups and death to infected pups after birth. In males this can cause an infection in the sexual organs leading to discomfort and inflammation. Infertility, poor health, and damage to the kidneys and nervous system can be long-term effects in both sexes.

Although infection is rare and typically the result of stray unhealthy companions, if breeding stock becomes infected in a kennel type of arrangement this can lead to disaster. In order to avoid such contamination in breeding it is a good idea to have all mates tested through a simple blood test available through your veterinarian. Because of the rareness (1% - 6%) of this illness some vets may see this as unnecessary and may try to talk a responsible breeder out of it. If considering breeding you should explain your concerns to your vet and remind them they are they to serve you as a customer and the reason why you are asking for such a test is to be responsible in your breeding program.

If any pet you have is determined to have this disease it is imperative that they be removed from consideration as a breeding subject and that they be kept separated from any other breeding stock you may have. If any pet or human in your household becomes infected it is important to have the entire set of breeding dogs subsequently tested.

If a pet is determined to have Brucellosis while pregnant and still does to manage to have a litter it will be crucial to the pups survival that they be removed without the opportunity to nurse. This should be done with the use of rubber gloves and by giving the pups a thorough washing. After washing the pups you should wash any parts of your body that have come into direct contact with the pups. The new owners must be informed of their infection and it will be necessary to spay/neuter the entire lot to prevent spread of the disease. Although no vaccine has been found for this disease, treatment with Tetracycline or Streptomycin may be administered on a long-term schedule but even this is often still ineffective. Although the APBR does not condone euthanasia in most cases, humanely culling such pups, given the potential threat of this disease, may be considered.

Because of the potential of spread to humans, health departments in many states may order such infected animals destroyed.

The best prevention of this disease is through eliminating the exposure your pet has to outside roaming animals through responsible containment such as with well-maintained fences of proper height or keeping them inside.

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