Iowa Officials Confirm 'Multiple Cases' of Dog Disease that Can Infect Humans

“Multiple cases” of a dog disease that is transferrable to humans have been confirmed in Iowa canines by state veterinarian  Dr. Jeff Kaisand, according to the The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

In a statement from the department, officials note the cases of Canine Brucellosis — zoonotic bacterial disease — originated “from a small dog commercial breeding facility in Marion County, Iowa.”

Owners in possession of dogs who were potentially exposed to the infected canines have been notified.

“Both the animals and the facilities are quarantined while the dogs undergo clinical testing,” the statement from the The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship continues.

Canine Brucellosis can be transmitted to humans and other animals through contaminated reproductive fluids. For most dogs owners, this makes the risk of infection low, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, but the risk is higher for dog breeders, veterinary staff and anyone else “who comes in contact with blood, tissues and fluids during the birthing process” of dogs.

The department recommends that those who believe they might have come in contact with an infected or exposed dog, visit their primary care physician. It is also recommended that dog owners who have “recently acquired a new, small breed dog from Marion County” contact a veterinarian and their own physician.

According to the Center for Food Security and Public Health, Canine Brucellosis “causes reproductive problems in dogs. Other signs can include inflammation of lymph nodes, behavioral abnormalities, lethargy, and weight loss.”

Canine Brucellosis infections in humans, while “rare,”  are possible and “cause flu-like signs (fever, night sweats, headaches, back pain). Arthritis (joint pain) and re-occurring fevers may occur with long term infection. Rarely, cases of brucellosis can involve the nervous system, eyes, or heart,” reports the Center for Food Security and Public Health.

Antibiotics are often used to treat dogs with Canine Brucellosis, but, as VCA Animal Hospital notes, “no treatment is completely effective at eliminating the bacteria, and any dog that has been infected with B. canis should be considered to be infected for life.”

Humans infected with the disease, according to The Mayo Clinic, can expect to “take antibiotics for at least six weeks.” Even after this run of antibiotics is complete, “symptoms may not go away completely for several months. The disease can also return and may become chronic.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recommends visiting a veterinarian and a physician if your dog shows symptoms of Canine Brucellosis and also recommends that all pet owners wash their hands after handling their pets in an effort to “practice good biosecurity.”

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