Brucella canis on the rise in dogs in the UK

The UK has seen a significant increase in the number of reported cases of Brucella canis – a bacterium that causes canine brucellosis. 

In this blog, we cover everything you need to know about Brucella canis as a practising vet, from risk factors to key symptoms and everything in between. 

What are the main symptoms of Canine brucellosis? 

Canine brucellosis is highly infectious in dogs and can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the dog’s gender. In female canines, the main signs include an inflamed uterus, stillbirths and infertility. Males usually exhibit enlarged testicals, inflamed scrotum and/or rash in this area, as well as inability to reproduce. Other symptoms can include lethargy, back pain, eye and kidney infections and swollen lymph nodes. 

What is the treatment?

While the bacterial disease can be controlled using antibiotics, there is no permanent cure for canine brucellosis. Most vets will also recommend spraying or neutering infected dogs. 

Why have we seen an increase in cases? 

The majority of cases have been linked to imported dogs (largely from Romania), while the biggest outbreak was reported in a UK breeding place. 

Veterinary professionals have also reported seeing an increase in new and rare diseases, including: 

  • Zoonotic leishmania
  • Ehrlichia canis
  • Babesia canis
  • Dirofialria immitis
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • Linguatula serrata
  • Thelazia callipaeda
  • Meocestoides spp

Advice for veterinary professionals? 

If a dog presents with symptoms of Brucella canis the staff should use PPE to mitigate risk of infection (very rare in humans). Laboratory workers should also be informed of any positive cases to ensure relevant biosafety cabinet and BSL-3 precautions are used in the lab. 

It is also important to warn dog owners (current and potential) about the rise in cases, as well as the symptoms to look out for and countries where the disease is most prominent. 

Where possible, encourage owners to get pre-breeding tests so they can rule out the possibility of the bacterial disease. 

We hope you found this article helpful – make sure to spread the word with fellow colleagues! 

Choice Vets has vacancies across the veterinary sector, including nurse roles, surgeon roles and grad roles. Give our specialist team a call on 0203 9784 104 today if you’re interested, we love to hear from you!

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