Brucella in Dogs - Important Information

Brucella in Dogs - Important Information
14 January 2022
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The UK has recently seen an increase in the number of dogs presenting with symptomatic Brucella canis. There are several species of Brucella which affect a wide range of animal species, including people. We have been screening cattle for Brucella infection for a number of years and have a national protocol in place to protect people from cross infection from cattle or cattle products such as milk.

If your dog has been outside the UK please contact the practice to book a blood test to screen for Brucella canis.

Screening for other infectious disease may also be appropriate for if your dog has been imported from a higher risk country.

More information about recommended testing for imported or travelled dogs.

  • Neck or Spinal Pain
  • Swelling and/or Pain in the testicles
  • Discharge from the Penis or Vulva
  • Infertility or abortion
  • Eye pain or inflammation (uveitis)

Any dog that presents to the clinic with these symptoms will be required to screen for Brucella canis.

Information on Brucella canis

Infected dogs pose a risk to humans, with vets (particularly during surgery) and lab staff (handling blood and urine samples) at highest risk. Although rare, the consequences of human infection can be very severe and can lead to death. Appropriate antibiotic treatment is normally successful in treating human patients.

Infected dogs can remain asymptomatic (not show any symptoms) and infection can be lifelong. It is not normally possible to cure the infection in dogs. Unfortunately, due to the risk to people, it is generally recommended that infected dogs are euthanised, especially if they have painful symptoms.

What should we do about Brucella canis?

Infection is rare in the UK but higher if the patient has been imported from another country or travelled. We require Brucella canis screening tests before carrying out any surgical or laboratory tests in all dogs that have been outside the UK.

It is helpful if we can take samples for testing before the patient is ill, as treatment may have to be delayed until results are back, which may worsen outcomes.