Published: Tue, May 14, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Bred Dogs Have Disease That Can Pass to Humans

Bred Dogs Have Disease That Can Pass to Humans

State veterinarian Dr. Jeff Kaisand confirmed multiple cases of Canine Brucellosis originating from a small dog breeding facility in Marion County, Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Officials said they're contacting those who own the exposed dogs and noted that "both the animals and facilities are quarantined while the dogs undergo clinical testing".

In dogs, the disease causes reproductive issues, such as abortions, infertility, or stillbirths. In people, symptoms include fever, sweats, headache, joint pain and weakness, the state health department said.

Interestingly, the threat to dog owners is considered to be low.

Those who have recently acquired a new, small-breed dog from Marion County is encouraged to contact their veterinarian.

Heinz said someone contacted them about the auction and said this particular commercial breeder was closing and would have some of the older dogs up for adoption, which is why they chose to attend.

Heinz said the most hard thing about this disease is dogs can't get rid of it like humans can and usually have to be put down to prevent the spread to other dogs or humans.

In the right conditions, canine brucellosis can survive for months.


Protective clothing such as gloves and masks should be worn when assisting with the delivery of newborn puppies or handling reproductive tissues and hands should always be washed properly afterwards.

"That's why if we do have a positive dog, it has to be put down", Amy Heinz, founder and executive director of Iowa-based AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport, said in an interview. We have not received any results yet.

Heinz said they had to quarantine their adoption building for an additional 30 days.

"This is just one more reason to ADOPT and not SHOP!" the organization added.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that Canine Brucellosis is "rarely reported in humans", but still offered suggestions on how to avoid the disease.

People working in laboratories with the bacteria, in slaughterhouses or meat-packing are some of the most vulnerable to the infection, according to the Centre for Disease Control.

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