Brucella canis in NYS

Thursday, July 12, 2018

(NY) Brucella canis: An adult male and two adult female breeding dogs from the same facility were diagnosed with Brucellosis. All of the dogs were born at the kennel. The Brucella (B.) canis testing is a two-step process performed on serum. The first test is the Canine Brucella 2 mercapto-ethanol (ME) Slide Agglutination test, which is an antibody test. It is prone to false positives because it may cross react with antibodies to other bacteria. The confirmation test is an Agar Gel Immunodiffusion test (AGID II), which uses cytoplasmic antigens and is highly specific for detecting Brucella antibodies. Blood cultures can also be performed to confirm infection.

Dogs become bacteremic within weeks of infection and can remain bacteremic for years. Intact male dogs harbor B. canis in the prostate and the scrotum. They may develop testicular swelling and epididymitis, infertility and abnormal sperm. Bitches infected with B. canis typically have late term abortions. Uveitis and diskospondylitis can occur as well. The bacteria are shed in abortion fluids, vaginal discharge, semen and urine, and enter the body via mucous membranes. Offspring from infected females will not become reliably seropositive until six months of age.

If Brucellosis is diagnosed in a New York breeding kennel, the kennel must be quarantined and the state officials notified. Options for infected dogs are euthanasia or sterilization to decrease shedding, and a prolonged combination antibiotic treatment course. B. canis is zoonotic and the risk of transmission to humans needs to be relayed to owners. In 2012, a three-year-old girl living in New York City contracted B. canis from the family dog. Brucellosis has vague clinical signs in people, including fever, headache and fatigue. Human laboratories use smooth Brucella antigens for serologic assays; therefore B. canis is potentially under-diagnosed in the human population.

Brucella canis