July 17th, 2010
Brucellosis is caused by a bacteria known as Brucella canis.The disease spreads form one dog to another during breeding or by oral contact with vaginal discharges, aborted fetuses, placentas,semen or urine. It is the most common bacteria that can infect females and their fetuses. Infection rates in all dogs in the U.S. could be as high as 8-10%. The Brucella canis bacteria can be transferred to humans, especially after touching aborted fetuses and vaginal discharge.
Pregnant females with brucellosis abort their puppies,usually in the last two weeks of pregnancy, while nonpregnant females may not conceive when bred. Males symptoms are swelling of the testicles and usually become sterile. Some dogs appear to be brucellosis free but are in fact infected and capable of transferring the disease.
There is no effective treatment for dogs with brucellosis, and no vaccine to prevent the disease. Infected dogs are routinely neutered when diagnosed with brucellosis. The use of artificial insemination can lessen the incidence of exposure from an infected male to a female and protect the risk of exposure from the infected female to the male.
Identification of brucellosis is done by blood test. Stud dogs and females should be tested prior to breeding.