What is Brucellosis?
Brucellosis is a contagious disease caused by the small bacterial organism Brucella canis. This bacterium primarily affects the reproductive organs of male and female dogs. Brucellosis can cause infertility and late miscarriages in female dogs. In male dogs, it can cause testicular or scrotal inflammation and infertility. This nasty disease can also cause puppies to be stillborn or very weak at birth.
Transmission of Brucella canis
B. canis is zexually transmitted by the mating of infected males and females. Brucella canis in the female dog will live in the vaginal and uterine tissue and secretions for years, and except in rare cases, for life. The infected female usually appears healthy with no signs of disease or indication that she is a 'carrier' or harborer of the organisms. She can spread the bacteria to other animals through her urine, aborted fetuses, or most commonly through the act of breeding. Once pregnant, the bacteria will also infect the developing fetuses causing illness.
In males, the Brucella bacteria live in the testicles and seminal fluids. An infected male is just as dangerous as the female as he can spread the Brucella bacteria via his urine or semen. Oftentimes, there are no signs except in advanced cases when the testicles may be uneven in size.
Litters are commonly aborted, usually in the last two weeks of gestation, or the puppies may die shortly after birth. If a pregnant dog aborts after 45 days of gestation, you should be highly suspicious of brucellosis. Usually, the fetuses are partially decayed and accompanied by a gray to green vaginal discharge. This discharge can have very high numbers of Brucella canis. If embryos die early, they may be reabsorbed and the female may never appear to be pregnant at all.
What are the symptoms of brucellosis?
Brucellosis in dogs typically causes reproductive problems such as infertility and abortions, with few other signs of clinical illness. The disease is most common in sexually intact adult dogs.
Male dogs infected with brucellosis develop epididymitis, an infection of the epididymis. When sperm are produced in the testicles, they are immature; the epididymis is a coiled segment of the spermatic ducts where the sperm mature and are stored before ejaculation. A dog with a newly acquired infection will often have an enlarged scrotum or an enlarged testicle and may have scrotal dermatitis. The quality of the dog's sperm will be poor. In chronic or long-standing cases, the testicles will atrophy or become shrunken.
Female dogs infected with brucellosis develop an infection of the uterus; she may be infertile or have difficulty getting pregnant, or may abort in the late stages of pregnancy. She often has a persistent vaginal discharge. Typically, a pregnant dog with brucellosis will abort at 45-55 days of gestation, or will give birth to stillborn or weak puppies.
How can brucellosis be controlled?
Dog Breeders Shouldn't Skip Testing for Brucellosis
Brucellosis in dogs is more prevalent in some areas of the United States, such as the southern USA, and in other parts of the world. Since the disease is a major threat to the breeding capability of dogs, all dogs used for breeding purposes should be tested regularly (e.g. every 3-6 months, depending on exposure to other dogs), and new dogs should never be introduced into a kennel situation until they have been quarantined for 8-12 weeks and then tested for the disease. Most experts recommend performing 2 blood tests 4 weeks apart, near the end of the quarantine period.
Am I at risk for developing brucellosis from an infected dog?
Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease, or a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Statistically one out of ten dogs may be carriers and those are very disturbing odds.
#Breeders and veterinarians exposed to the blood or other secretions of infected animals are at an increased risk of developing an infection;
#pet owners are considered to be at risk for infection if come in contact with blood, semen or uterine discharges from an infected dog.
#people with compromised immune systems should avoid contact with a dog that is diagnosed with brucellosis. This includes people with AIDS/HIV, people on chemotherapy or receiving radiation therapy,
#people who are elderly or have serious chronic diseases, people who have received organ transplants, pregnant women and young children.
People who come in contact with breeding dogs, newborn puppies or aborted fetuses should use caution and practice good sanitation. Whenever possible, wear disposable gloves before handling newborn puppies or cleaning an area where a dog has whelped. After removal of the disposable gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well.
Clinical signs in HUMANS range from being uncomfortable with flu-like symptoms to septicemia, infertility, and cardiac and neurological symptoms of a more serious nature.
Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria. Dogs can spread Leptospira to both humans and other dogs via their urine. Following infection, some dogs become long-term carriers whilst appearing healthy.
How Would My Dog Catch Leptospirosis ?
When reservoir animals void urine, they contaminate their environment with living leptospira. These carrier wildlife shed leptospira intermittently. Sometimes they shed for months and sometimes for life.
Pets can become infected by sniffing this urine. More often, the leptospira are washed by rains into standing water. Then pets wading, swimming or drinking the contaminated water, develop the disease. Although this is the way that leptospira usually pass from animal to animal, they can also enter through a bite wound or through the pets eating infected materials.
What Happens When My Dog Catches Leptospirosis ?
When leptospirosis does cause sudden disease in dogs, it tends to be most severe in unvaccinated dogs that are younger than 6 months old. These are the pets most likely to suffer life-threatening liver and kidney damage. It takes about 4-12 days after exposure for the pet to feel ill.
In dogs of any age that become ill, the leptospira spread rapidly through the pet’s blood stream, usually causing high fevers, depression and joint pain. Leptospira produce powerful toxins that can attack the liver and kidneys, leading to failure of these organs. Strains of lepto vary in their intensity and in the portions of the body they attack most severely. Some varieties primarily cause liver damage, while others concentrate in the kidneys. In other pets, blood fails to clot normally - leading to bleeding.
What Are The Signs I Would See In My Dog ?
The most common signs are fever and depression. These pets are cold, shivery, and stiff. They may carry their tummies tucked up do to pain. Some drool and vomit and most loose their appetite. Fever causes many dogs to drink excessively.
Later in the disease, a few pets will develop eye inflammations (uveitis), nervous system abnormalities or pass red-tinged urine. As the disease progresses, the pet may become dehydrated due to the fever, vomiting and disinterest is drinking. A drop to subnormal body temperature is a very grave sign. A few dogs, particularly juveniles, will die suddenly before many of these signs occur.
When the liver has been damaged, the pet’s skin may take on a yellowish tinge (=jaundiced) and show all the symptoms of hepatitis. When the kidneys have been severely damaged, the pet may show the signs of uremia.
Am I at risk for developing Leptospirosis from an infected dog?
Yes, according to (CDC), between 100 and 200 human cases of Leptospirosis are reported in the U.S. each year, with around half occurring in Hawaii.
Humans can become infected through: contact with urine from infected dogs. The bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth), especially if the skin is broken from a cut or scratch. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection.
The time between a person's exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is 2 days to 4 weeks. Illness usually begins abruptly with fever and other symptoms. Leptospirosis may occur in two phases:
#After the first phase (with fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea) the patient may recover for a time but become ill again.
#If a second phase occurs, it is more severe; the person may have kidney or liver failure or meningitis. This phase is also called Weil's disease
#Obtain dog’s whole blood sample to collect serum or plasma for use.
#Take out the cassette from the foil pouch and place it horizontally.
#Place 1 drop of serum into the sample hole “S” and immediately add 1 drop of assay buffer.
#Interpret the result in 5-10 minutes.