Dangerous canine disease quarantines dogs in Iowa — and it can spread to humans

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Health officials in Iowa are warning the public about a disease found in dogs that can be passed on to humans.

State veterinarian Dr. Jeff Kaisand says there have been several confirmed cases of canine Brucellosis that originated in a small-breeding facility in Marion County, Iowa.

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“We are in the process of notifying the individuals who have custody of the exposed dogs," the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said in a news release. "Both the animals and the facilities are quarantined while the dogs undergo clinical testing."

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), canine brucellosis is a bacterial infection that spreads to both dogs and humans through contact with contaminated reproductive fluids. In dogs, the infection may result in reproductive failure, while in humans it presents with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and can also cause enlarged spleen and lymph nodes.

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While the risk of infection in pet owners is “considered very low,” the news release states that breeders and veterinarians who may come in contact with tissues and fluids (including blood) during canine birthing process pose a higher risk of being exposed, and should seek medical attention or advice.

The CDC notes that children and people with compromised immune systems pose an increased risk of infection, as some cases have shown transmission from an infected puppy to a child under the age of four, without infection spreading to the rest of the family.

Image via Getty Images.

Although uncommon in Canada, some pet health experts advise breeders take their dogs for regular testing every 3-6 months to ensure the animal is in good health, and refrain from introducing new dogs to kennels until after an 8-12 week quarantine period complete with blood tests for infections and viruses.

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While the situation is under investigation, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is advising all residents to be diligent in reporting suspected cases of infection to their veterinarian and primary care physician.

“This serves as a reminder that it is always important to practice good biosecurity, like thoroughly washing your hands after handling animals,” the news release concludes. “Even household pets.”

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