Bred Dogs Have Disease That Can Pass to Humans

Little dog with owner spend a day at the park playing and having fun. Shutterstock  Branislav Nenin

The disease originated from a small dog-breeding facility in Marion County, Iowa, and both the animals and the building in question are now being quarantined while the pups undergo clinical testing.

However, some diseases can jump between dogs and humans, and one such illness was just confirmed in Iowa.

"We are in the process of notifying the individuals who have custody of the exposed dogs", read a statement from Keely Coppess, a spokesperson for the state's Agriculture Department.

This disease is often spread through contact with infected birthing tissue and objects that have infected fluids on them. It is also recommended that dog owners who have "recently acquired a new, small breed dog from Marion County" contact a veterinarian and their own physician.

The statement also encouraged people to thoroughly wash their hands "after handling animals - even household pets". If you live in Iowa and are around dogs a lot, it may not be the flu, but rather Canine Brucellosis.

In dogs, signs of the disease include infertility, spontaneous abortions and stillbirths. "Arthritis (joint pain) and re-occurring fevers may occur with long term infection".

Despite the ability of the disease to infect both dogs and people, the symptoms it produces differ dramatically between canines and humans.

"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.

In the right conditions, canine brucellosis can survive for months.

Heinz said they had to quarantine their adoption building for an additional 30 days.

"Persons with a weakened immune system due to disease or medication, young children, and pregnant women are likely at greater risk of developing more severe symptoms if they are exposed", the Department said in a notice.

"They spent their lives in these little tiny boxes breeding over and over and over, and to finally get out and get some freedom and have to die would be so tragic and terrible", Heinz said.

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