Brucella canis Infection in imported dogs

Brucella Canis
Key things to be aware of:

  • The greatest risk of exposure is potential contact with Brucella canis contaminated materials, especially tissues and fluids associated with breeding and parturition
  • Brucella canis is also shed in a dog’s bodily fluids, such as urine, blood, and saliva
  • If positive, a dog is considered infected for life, even following antimicrobial treatment
  • Human cases are rarely reported, and none have been confirmed following contact with an infected dog in the UK.

The infection in dogs, can cause symptoms of reproductive failure, or discospondylitis, or be asymptomatic.  Public Health England have been involved and have given advice to the veterinary profession to protect staff. They are advising the relevant charities to screen dogs prior to import, but this is not mandatory.

As a result of this, the majority of referral centres are now insisting on pre referral testing for any imported dog. The high risk areas are Romania, Russia and Afghanistan, but they are, at present, asking for testing on all ‘travelled’ dogs. We know that there are many imported dogs from Romania in the UK.

The test is a simple blood sample taken from the dog and submitted to the Animal and Plant Health Agency at Weighbridge. The turnaround time is 7-21 days. The cost is £91.20.

We wanted to advise you of this recent development, as it poses a potential problem for any ‘travelled’ dog requiring referral to a veterinary hospital, and could delay them being able to be treated. We advise any owner of a dog imported from the high risk countries to ‘proactively’ arrange for their dog to have the appropriate tests, or to ensure they have documentation proving the dog has been tested and was negative prior to importation.

We will keep you updated if things change.