Dog disease found in Iowa that can infect people

Grant Boone
May 14, 2019

State veterinarian Dr. Jeff Kaisand confirmed multiple cases of Canine Brucellosis originating from a small dog breeding facility in Marion County, Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

"We are in the process of notifying the individuals who have custody of the exposed dogs".

Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease humans can contract "when they are in contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, the department has urged pet owners who recently bought a small dog breed from the area to contact their nearest veterinarian. You pretty much have to handle your dog's reproductive fluids - such as blood, tissue, and other fluids from the birthing process - to get infected. A handout from Iowa State University says, among other things, to "always wash your hands after touching animals". The Iowa Department of Health also warns against breeding dogs before testing for the disease. In dogs, numerous symptoms are related to the reproductive system, with an increased risk of stillbirths and miscarriages as well as infertility. It requires close contact with infected dogs. Dogs with inflamed lymph nodes, acting abnormally, losing weight, or are lethargic may be infected. State health officials say symptoms for humans include fever, sweats, headache, joint pain and weakness.

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Heinz said the most hard thing about this disease is dogs can't get rid of it like humans can and usually have to be put down to prevent the spread to other dogs or humans. "Rarely, cases of brucellosis can involve the nervous system, eyes, or heart".

"That's why if we do have a positive dog, it has to be put down", Amy Heinz, founder and executive director of Iowa-based AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport, said in an interview. "Therefore, we have closed our shelter building for the next 30 days". The disease, which can be spread through reproductive fluids, is believed to only infect dogs and humans. "Please pray for our sweet babies that were finally getting the chance to have a happy life".

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