The UK has recently seen an increase in the number of dogs testing positive for Brucella Canis. Most of these cases are in imported dogs. There has been a very sad case reported this year where an infected dog was imported, and passed the disease onto 4 other dogs in the household and the owner. All 5 dogs were euthanased.
Brucella canis is endemic in various countries including parts of the EU, the incidence in the UK is generally considered to be very low. The most common symptoms affect the reproductive systems, but sometimes the infection can cause inflammation elsewhere in the body, most commonly the spine or joints, causing spinal pain or Lameness. Some infected dogs show no symptoms at all.
Infected dogs pose a risk to humans, with vets (particularly during surgery) and lab staff (handling blood and urine samples) at highest risk. Although rare, the consequences of human infection can be very severe and can lead to death. Appropriate antibiotic treatment is normally successful in treating human patients.
Infected dogs can remain asymptomatic (not show any symptoms) and infection can be lifelong. It is not normally possible to cure the infection in dogs. Unfortunately, due to the risk to people, it is generally recommended that infected dogs are euthanased.
We are advising that all imported dogs are screened for Brucella. The best time to do this is 3 months after arrival as sometimes infection takes a while to show. There is an option to test on arrival and 3 months later. Risk is increased in unneutered dogs. The most reliable test is sent away to an external laboratory, results may take around a week. Cost is approx £77.00
We will require any imported dog that is having surgery or any other diagnostic procedure to be tested with an in house test (similar to lateral flow tests), which gives results on the same day.
We insist on this as there is a risk to our vets and nurses handling these dogs. Cost of this is approx £40.
For surgery of the reproductive system of males and females we require that the blood test is run externally at the APHA.
This situation is under constant review and may change at any time.
We can help advise you on Brucella Canis, so feel free to get in touch with us