A commercial breeding facility for small dogs in Marion County, Iowa, has been quarantined by state officials. According to veterinarians, the facility in southeast Iowa is the source of several cases of canine brucellosis — a dangerous disease that causes infertility problems and is transmissible to humans.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has notified the owners of exposed dogs and has instated a 30-day quarantine on both the animals and the breeding facilities until the animals undergo thorough testing. It’s not clear at this moment how many dogs have been infected, although AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, Inc., which is based in De Soto, Iowa, said it has quarantined about 32 dogs from a breeder in relation to the disease.
“We are in the process of notifying the individuals who have custody of the exposed dogs,” the department explained in a press release. “Both the animals and the facilities are quarantined while the dogs undergo clinical testing.”
Canine brucellosis is a highly contagious disease that affects the reproductive tract of dogs, causing infertility, stillbirths, and spontaneous abortions. Although it happens very rarely, sometimes the disease can pass to humans causing flu-like symptoms such as fever, joint pain, headaches, and sweats.
If a pregnant woman is infected with the disease, perhaps due to contact with her pet dog, it can cause a miscarriage or force the woman to give birth prematurely.
There is no cure for canine brucellosis. What’s more, infected dogs may appear to be healthy, despite carrying the disease. This is why it’s standard procedure for dogs who are tested positive to be put down.
According to the state department, citizens shouldn’t panic as most pet owners are not at risk. The people most vulnerable to the disease are dog breeders, veterinary staff, and anyone who comes in contact with tissue and fluids during a canine birth.