This is an infectious disease caused by the Brucella Canis bacteria. It is present in dogs at a significant level in Eastern and Southern Europe and large parts of the world. It can cause disease in dogs and also is zoonotic so can cause significant disease in people. It can be transmitted between dogs and from dog to person but most likely if you are in contact with the uterus or fluids from a birth or miscarriage.
Symptoms in humans can be non-specific fever, aches, fatigue, loss of appetite etc. If you believe to have been exposed the advice is to contact your GP to get assessed and tested. Pregnant or immunocompromised people are at higher risk.
If a positive case is found, then the owner is advised to notify the local health protection team and we must by law report it to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
Here are links to the Government Animal and Plant Health Agency summary:
It has only started to appear in the UK in any significant number in the past 5 years or so. The source is from dogs that are imported from endemic areas. The areas in question that should be of concern is any country east of the eastern borders of Germany, Austria, Italy and Finland. This includes Romania, Slovenia, Turkey, Greece, Russia etc. and many more. Please see the below map for countries that are classed as low risk (green) and high risk (red).
One of the countries where a particularly large number of rescue dogs come from is Romania. In 2020 there were 30,000 dogs imported from Romania into the UK so there is now a significant influx of dogs that may have the disease.
Symptoms in dogs include miscarriage, infertility, weak puppies, swollen testicles, many non-specific signs and most often there are no clinical signs.
Transmission between dogs is at mating, from mother to pup, vaginal discharge or semen.
With regret, treatment options are sadly restricted to euthanasia, a positive dog will remain a hazard to other dogs and to people.
A blood test is required to confirm Brucellosis, the cost is £216.52 including sampling, interpretation and VAT.
There is significant risk treating animals with this disease and especially if involved in any whelplings or neutering procedures. Therefore, we should put in place some guidance to help protect yourselves, Veterinary professionals and anyone else that may come in contact with a positive pet.
- Isolation – keep your Pet isolated until tested
- Blood Testing – test on arrival to the UK and/or 3 months after arrival
- Avoid mating - Any dog involved in mating should be tested
- Symptoms – call us immediately if your pet displays any of the listed symptoms
We must insist:
- Any dog from an at-risk country needs to have a negative serology blood test at least 3 months after arrival into the UK before the dog has any non-emergency surgery (including neutering or dentistry) or medical investigations.
- Our Veterinary professionals may wear personal protective equipment which includes gloves, apron, mask and face shield if we suspect your dog is at high risk.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any further information or advice if you believe your dog may be from a high-risk country.
Clockhouse Veterinary Team
Stroud – 01453 752555 Nailsworth – 01453 834930