Brucellosis is a widespread disease affecting humans, dogs, and cattle. It can be transmitted from animals to humans or vice versa via infected meat, milk, or reproductive fluids.
Brucella is one of the most common bacterial infections transmitted to dogs, particularly those living in areas with large wildlife populations, such as deer and elk.
Table of Contents
What Is Canine Brucellosis?
Canine brucellosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Brucella canis. It can be spread from one dog to another or from a mother dog to her puppies through her milk. This disease has three forms – aborting, chronic inactive, and acute active. The prevalence of the infection in shelter dogs ranges from 0 to 8.6%, as indicated by the National Library of Medicine. The chronic form is most common in dogs who have had it for years, but it also affects young dogs born with it from their mothers with acute cases of brucellosis during pregnancy, also called congenital.
The symptoms vary depending on whether you’re dealing with an aborted or active case. Still, they mainly include fever, lethargy/depression, loss of appetite, and joint pain that worsens until the dog dies if left untreated (which usually means quarantining them away from other animals). You should never try self-diagnosing your animal using only online resources because any number of things could be going on besides canine brucellosis–make sure you consult your veterinarian before making any decisions.
How Does Brucella Spread?
In dogs, Brucella canis infection is linked to the delivery of frail puppies with a high newborn death rate. In addition to this observation, it has been shown that the risk of maternal infection increases in females younger than 6 months old or those having more than one breeding season. The virus has also been transmitted through direct contact between dogs and sheep; however, there are no reports of transmission occurring through insect bites or air.
The main transmission route for brucellosis is via infected mothers to their offspring. The virus may also be spread from animals to humans who have not been adequately vaccinated against the disease. It is vital for veterinarians and other pet caretakers working with dogs suspected of having brucellosis to wear protective gear when handling them, including gloves and goggles, to reduce their risk of contracting the illness.
Brucella suis infection is often fatal for puppies delivered by infected mothers. In addition, the virus can cause severe illness in older dogs. The incubation period for brucellosis in dogs can be from three days to several weeks. The most common signs of infection include fever, loss of appetite, depression, weight loss, and lethargy.
How Is Brucella Diagnosed in Dogs?
Canine brucellosis can be diagnosed through a blood test, but it’s not the only way to test for this disease. A urinalysis can also determine if your dog has been infected with Brucella. An ELISA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay may be used to confirm positive results from the blood test.
A swab of fluid from the nasal cavity or lymph nodes may also be used to diagnose canine brucellosis. Bone marrow biopsies are sometimes performed if you’re worried about complications such as osteomyelitis or arthritis due to untreated bacterial infection.
An RSAT (rapid slide agglutination test) measures antibodies in your dog’s body against Brucella abortus. These antibodies indicate that they have had contact with the organism at some point in their lives before being tested for it. This test is quite effective in identifying negative dogs. In other words, if the test results are negative, the dog might be declared negative. If the test is positive, more testing is required. False – positive accounts for up to 60% of all cases.
A CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) tap may be performed if you’re worried about neurological symptoms such as seizures or dementia. A culture from the dog’s urine may also be used to identify Brucella bacteria, but this isn’t very common in veterinary offices these days.
How Is Brucella Treated in Dogs?
The good news is that canine brucellosis can be treated with antibiotics. The best treatment for your dog will depend on its specific signs, overall health, and your veterinarianâ€™s recommendation. Antibiotics should include a broad-spectrum antibiotic such as amoxicillin combined with an oral or injectable antibiotic called doxycycline. This combination may be administered for up to 8 weeks in dogs who are not pregnant or nursing puppies, after which you’ll need to consult your vet.
Amoxicillin capsules are the most effective treatment for canine brucellosis and can be given orally or by injection depending on whatâ€™s most comfortable for your dog and its owner. It’s proven effective against many bacterial infections in dogs, including upper respiratory tract infections and skin conditions like hot spots.
You may need to bring some lifestyle changes as well. For example, if your dog has a fever and is experiencing arthritis, you may be advised to keep him calm by taking him for regular walks and limiting the amount of time he spends outside in the sun.
How Do I Prevent Brucella Infection in My Dog?
You can prevent Brucella infection in your dog by having them vaccinated. Some vaccination programs for dogs will include multiple rounds of vaccines, so it’s essential to ensure that your vet gives you the correct information and schedule for your dog’s vaccinations. In some cases, they may need booster shots every year or two after their initial vaccination series has been completed.
If you have a female dog who is not pregnant, keep her away from other dogs in heat or female rabbits. This is because these animals can carry the bacteria that cause brucellosis and pass it along to other animals through their bodily fluids. If you have a male dog or cat, make sure that he does not come into contact with any pregnant female pet or smells like she might be.
Also, avoid contact with sick dogs and other animals such as sheep since they can carry the bacteria causing this condition. If you think your dog has been exposed to brucellosis, immediately contact your vet and tell them what happened. They will likely do some tests on your pet to determine if they have contracted this disease.
The vet will ensure proper cleaning and disinfection. These two things are the top recommended prevention techniques by the APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service).
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into the world of canine brucella infection. Whether you’re a veterinarian, dog owner, or just a lover of all things furry and cute, it’s essential to know that there are ways to prevent this disease from affecting your favorite pet.
And if it does happen anyway? Don’t panic. There are many treatment options available that can help get your dog back on its paws in no time at all. So go forth and enjoy those puppy kisses today.