Recently another couple of good examples have cropped up of the risks of canine brucellosis (caused by Brucella canis) associated with both canine breeding kennels and international movement of dogs.
The state veterinarian for Iowa confirmed that there were several cases of brucellosis diagnosed in dogs from a small breeding facility in Marion County. Officials are attempting to reach any individuals who may now have a dog that could have been exposed at the facility, which is now under quarantine, and further testing is underway. The same article mentions another breeder in Knoxville, Iowa that also had dogs that tested positive, and a local adoption service that purchased 32 dogs at auction at now has the entire group under quarantine while the dogs are tested.
Across the pond, in the Netherlands (a country known for its strict and typically quite effective infection control measures), Brucella canis was diagnosed in a domestically-bred dog for the first time, but ultimately the dog had international ties. The case was discovered when a male dog from the breeding kennel that was originally imported from Russia was examined for back pain. The dog was tested and found to be infected. The cause of the back pain was likely discospondylitis, which is one of the well-recognized manifestations of brucellosis in dogs beyond reproductive issues. The positive result prompted testing of other dogs at the facility, and one of the animals that had been born in the Netherlands was also found to be infected (not surprisingly). All of the dogs at the facility were ultimately euthanized after consultation with government officials and the owner. Officials are also doing everything they can to track down anyone who adopted a dog from the kennel to advise them of the risks and hopefully prevent further spread.
It’s important for veterinarians, dog breeders and owners to be aware of the risks of canine brucellosis, as it can infect both dogs and people. It is especially important to be careful about imported dogs, or those with limited medical history that could have come from a high-risk facility. The Ontario Animal Health Network (OAHN) has produced a handy factsheet on Brucella canis for veterinarians to help navigate the issues, and particularly the diagnostic testing process which involves several different kinds of tests.
More information about B. canis can also be found in our archives.