The bacterium Brucella canis is the source of the infectious bacterial infection known as canine brucellosis (B. canis). Between dogs, this bacterial infection is extremely contagious. Infected dogs typically acquire a sexually transmitted illness or an infection of the reproductive system.
Brucella can infect a variety of animals, including sheep, goats, cattle, deer, elk, pigs, and others.
What are the signs of brucellosis?
In dogs, brucellosis typically results in reproductive issues like infertility and abortions, with few other clinically significant symptoms. Adult canines who are still sexually intact are most frequently affected.
The most common symptoms of canine brucellosis are reproductive issues like infertility and abortions, with few additional clinical symptoms.
When a male dog contracts brucellosis, the epididymitis infection affects a portion of the testicles. An enlarged scrotum or testicle, as well as a skin rash on the scrotum, are common in dogs with recently acquired infections. The dog could not conceive. In persistent or chronic conditions, the testicles will shrink or atrophy.
Female dogs with brucellosis develop an infection of the uterus, rendering them infertile, making it difficult for them to become pregnant, or even leading to an early abortion. She frequently gets an ongoing vaginal discharge. A pregnant dog with brucellosis will typically miscarry between 45 and 55 days into the pregnancy, give birth to weak or stillborn puppies who may pass away within a few days of birth, or both.
An enlarged lymph node is a typical symptom of brucellosis in its early stages. Occasionally, B. canis will infect the brain, eyes, kidneys, or intervertebral discs. The symptoms will be linked to the physiological system that is afflicted if the bacteria affects these other tissues.
How is canine brucellosis spread?
The sexual fluids (semen or vaginal discharges) of an infected dog shed large amounts of B. canis germs. The dog’s saliva or urine may also contain smaller quantities of microorganisms. A female dog with brucellosis who miscarries her pup will continue to expel brucellosis-infected secretions for 4-6 weeks after the miscarriage.
Dogs are exposed to the illness through contact with bodily fluids that are contaminated. Dogs can contract an infection through sexual transmission, inhalation (sniffing contaminated urine or other discharges), or through other mucous membranes such as the eyes. Although the most common route of infection is oral (i.e., from licking contaminated urine or discharges from the reproductive tract, or from licking or chewing placental material, or aborted fetuses), dogs can also pick up an infection through these other mucous membranes.
How is canine brucellosis diagnosed?
A blood test is typically used to diagnose the infection. Rapid slide agglutination test, or RAST, is the most popular blood test, and it can identify infections three to four weeks after they have begun. Negative results are trustworthy unless the dog has recently been exposed to the disease; this test is used to screen breeding dogs. Agar gel immunodiffusion test (AGID), an advanced test that may identify infected animals between 12 weeks and a year after infection, should be used to confirm any dog that tests positive with the RAST test because false-positive findings are very prevalent.
What is the treatment for canine brucellosis?
Any dog that has contracted B. canis should be thought of as having the infection for life, even though medications (most frequently minocycline or doxycycline, but occasionally enrofloxacin) can be administered to help control the condition. Antibiotics may be able to manage the acute illness, but the dog may continue to intermittently shed bacteria for the remainder of its life.
“Any dog that has contracted B. canis should be regarded as permanently infected.”
The risk to other dogs is decreased by surgical sterilization of the sick dog since less of the germs are shed into the environment.
How can brucellosis be controlled?
Canine brucellosis is a rare condition in Canada. In other regions of the United States, such the southern United States, and elsewhere in the world, it is more common. All dogs used for breeding should be tested frequently (e.g., every 3-6 months, depending on exposure to other dogs), and new dogs should never be introduced into a kennel environment until they have been quarantined for 8–12 weeks and then tested for the disease. This is because the disease poses a serious threat to the ability of dogs to breed. Near the end of the quarantine period, two blood tests spaced four weeks apart are generally advised.
Brucellosis is a reportable disease in the United States, which means that it has a significant impact on public health and that veterinarians and doctors are compelled to notify federal authorities of any positive cases. In Canada, canine brucellosis is not a reportable disease.
Am I at risk for developing brucellosis from an infected dog?
A zoonotic illness, or one that may spread from animals to people, is brucellosis. It is uncommon for a person to contract brucellosis from a dog, despite the fact that people can get sick by contacting infected animals.
Pet owners are not thought to be at risk for infection because they are less likely to come into contact with blood, semen, or uterine discharges from an infected dog. Breeders and veterinarians who are exposed to the blood or other secretions of infected animals are at an increased risk of developing an infection.
However, brucellosis-positive dogs should not be handled by humans with weakened immune systems.
People should exercise caution and proper hygiene when around breeding dogs, young puppies, or aborted fetuses. Wear disposable gloves whenever feasible before handling young puppies or cleaning a dog’s birthplace. After removing the disposable gloves, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before rinsing them.
What causes the testicles of a male dog to enlarge?
The most typical infectious cause of acute testicular and/or epididymal inflammation (bacterial, fungal or viral). Hematogenous, urologic, or direct inoculation are only a few possible sources of infection. Pain and expansion of the testis or epididymis are examples of clinical symptoms. Additionally possible findings include scrotal edema and scrotal skin excoriation. Cats rarely get orchitis or epididymitis unless there has been trauma (bite wounds).
To determine which tissues, such as the testis and epididymis, are implicated, the contents of the scrotum should be properly palpated. However, patient discomfort and edema can make this difficult. To identify and further assess the affected structures with direct diagnostic tests (such as fine-needle aspiration) and to rule out differentials like testicular torsion (color flow doppler), incarcerated scrotal herniation, hematoma, or a neoplastic mass, ultrasonography is helpful (with sedation or analgesia as needed). Additionally, abscessation can be seen. Within hours, the inguinal herniation or testicular torsion-related ischemia damage is permanent.
Testing for Brucella canis infection in dogs should always come first in diagnostic procedures for dogs. Semen collection from sick or painful animals may be challenging, and contamination from the normal urethral flora is unavoidable. Cytologic evaluation of semen with bacterial and mycoplasmal culture is beneficial. The optimum method for obtaining testicular or epididymal specimens for cytology and culture is ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration. If necessary, less invasive diagnostic procedures may be followed with a testicular biopsy for histopathology and bacterial culture. Epididymal biopsy is hardly performed due to the higher risk of granuloma formation. Castration makes it simple to obtain specimens; scrotal ablation may be advised if future reproduction is not important.
The likelihood of preserving fertility in cases of infectious orchitis/epididymitis is guarded, even with the identification of the infectious agent that caused it and the administration of the proper antimicrobial therapy, due to the possibility of irreversible damage to the germinal epithelium, tubular degeneration, the emergence of immune-mediated orchitis (caused by the breach of the blood-testis barrier), and duct system obstruction. These aftereffects could take months to manifest.
The unaffected testis and epididymis must be safeguarded against injury from heat, swelling, and the direct progression of the disease process in the case of unilateral involvement. Hemicastration might be advisable. If bacterial cultures are positive, the patient should get the recommended systemic antibiotics for 34 weeks. Castration is suggested as there is currently no cure for B canis infection. All antifungal medications affect spermatogenesis in one way or another. Once the inflammation has subsided, antibiotics with good prostatic penetration are required due to the possibility of the prostate becoming involved via direct extension (fluoroquinolones).
When testicular atrophy is noticeable, clients may instead interpret the epididymal prominence as a mass. These individuals typically have a history of subfertility and abnormalities in the semen, particularly if they are bilateral. Testicular histopathology may point to a primary, immune-mediated, nonseptic process (eg, lymphocytic-plasmacytic infiltration). Due to the fact that spermatogenesis is also halted, treatment with immunosuppressive medications has been tried without success. The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis is inhibited by glucocorticoids, which can lead to testicular shrinkage and infertility. Other non-inflammatory factors for testicular atrophy include past exposure to extremes of heat or cold, cytotoxic substances, and hormonal factors (eg, glucocorticoids, estrogen from Sertoli cell tumor, iatrogenic exposure to human transdermal hormone replacement therapy). Additionally, lymphoplasmacytic inflammation can be brought on by chronic brucellosis.
The preferred course of treatment for orchitis and epididymitis is castration when preserving fertility is not a priority. Scrotal skin lesions are treated in the same way as other skin lesions while bearing in mind that resecting the scrotum can expose the testes to thermal injury since it brings them closer to the abdominal wall.
Why are the balls in my dog so tough?
If you have dogs and live with them, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered a recognizable—and frequently agonizing—tipping point at least once. You think, “I just noticed (fill in the blank). Should I freak out? and dash to the canine urgent care facility?
When in doubt, consult your veterinarian is the universal advice that everyone offers, and for good reason. Of course you should if you think there is a real problem. However, you can’t always go to the animal hospital for sick dogs when you observe something odd, especially if it’s more of a matter of benign amusement than a true emergency. The problem is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Something that can appear incredibly unusual might not be anything, and a seemingly inconspicuous symptom might be a sign of something genuinely catastrophic. If only dogs had an owners’ guide or a customer service number!
Actually, if you get your dog from a respectable breeder or rescue organization, you kind of do. People who have been “in dogs” for a significant amount of time frequently accumulate a huge repository of practically acquired knowledge, and that can be quite useful. And frequently, “dog people are happy to provide advice with beginners, if only to assist them sort out the inconsequential details from the genuine alarm bells.
For a lot of years, I’ve been receiving those phone calls, and now and then I still make them as well. Here are a few “emergencies” I’ve experienced throughout the years that, thankfully, turned out to be nothing to be concerned about. Again, reading about my own experiences is not a replacement for veterinary treatment, but you may at least add it to your knowledge base. You might end up needing it at some point in the future.
When Your Dog’s Eyes Seem to Have Gone White
The majority of people are unaware of the formal name for the dog’s third eyelid, which is “I have no idea what it is (nictitating membrane, in case you’re keeping track). Whatever you want to name it, though, it might be disturbing to see this milky membrane glide across your dog’s eye, generally while she is asleep and engaging in some somnambulant rabbit-chasing. The resulting eyeball that is completely white can closely resemble demonic possession. Whatever it appears to be to you, it’s typically entirely normal.
The third eyelid is frequently referred to as the “In dogs, the haw, a translucent membrane, is typically invisible. The third eyelid may occasionally cover and shield the eye as a result of an eye injury, such as a damaged cornea. Other ophthalmological diseases, such as cherry eye, may also make the haw more obvious and noticeable. A veterinarian consult is essential in those circumstances (though not a middle-of-the-night emergency).
Higher BUN in Raw Fed Dogs
It’s crucial to keep in mind that many of the so-called “norms for dogs” are based on research on kibble-fed dogs if you’ve chosen to feed your dog a raw food diet. Your results may therefore differ, as they frequently do.
Dogs fed raw meat, for instance, had larger amounts of red blood cells and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) than dogs fed cereal-based chow, according to a 2003 study by vets W. Jean Dodds and Susan Wynn. A raw-fed dog’s high BUN levels will typically raise red flags if you have a routine blood panel done at a wellness exam or if your veterinarian uses blood testing as a diagnostic tool. This is because high BUN levels can indicate compromised kidney function.
Don’t assume that your veterinarian is aware that increased BUN levels are typical in dogs that are given raw meat. When Dakota’s pre-surgical bloodwork revealed an elevated BUN level, a new vet at the clinic admitted Dakota and started her on fluids some years ago. The friend who purchased the dog was one of my raw-fed puppy buyers. The concerned owner called me, and I then spoke with the veterinarian, who stopped the unneeded care.
When Your Dog Isn’t Drinking Water
Water consumption in dogs that are given raw meat is another area that warrants extra caution. When compared to a dog that is given kibble, a raw-feeder will seem like a camel to you. That’s because raw meat is very well hydrated, unlike kibble, which has its moisture content removed to extend its shelf life; dogs fed on raw meat don’t continually slurp up water because water hasn’t been taken from their food in the first place. Over the years, I’ve received several calls from worried puppy owners whose new puppy has only sipped a small amount of water. They shouldn’t be concerned if the puppy is acting and playing normally, I advise them.
Of fact, some illnesses might make a dog drink less water, so any large decrease in water intake needs to be taken seriously. Your dog should always have access to fresh water.
Abnormal Canine Genitalia?
I can assure you that this is true: I had a really sweet lady who loved puppies email me in a panic about the bad flea bites on her puppy’s belly. When I looked at the photo she received, which is worth a thousand words, I replied and encouraged her to calm down: Those weren’t flea bites. It was nipples.
You can joke, but the truth is that because spaying and neutering are so common, we have forgotten what it means to view animals as sexual creatures. Due to the fact that the dogs don’t use those “parts,” many owners are unsure of what is typical or abnormal for them.
Breaking news: Male dogs, like male humans, have nipples, albeit they are not always visible, even in short-haired canines. In contrast to male humans, who only have two, male canines have several pairs. And theirs are useless as well.
Speaking of male dogs, you should be aware that while neutering normally makes it impossible for them to reach a state of readiness, it is not always the case. Owners who are alarmed by what they believe to be a penile illness may really be witnessing the precursor to an erection: Buster is generally quite, um, thrilled if you see something sticking out that resembles a pink lipstick cylinder. (Or, occasionally, anxious. Depending on the situation!)
There’s more, hold on. Everyone is aware that male dogs are neutered to prevent them from reproducing, yet a startlingly large percentage of people are unaware that this procedure entails the removal of the testicles. After the treatment, some owners worry that those dangly bits weren’t really removed because it seems like they’ve returned when they bring their dog home. The truth: A dog’s post-surgery scrotum, which is left intact, may give the impression that the dog still has testicles. Watch for signs of infection or a break in the wound, and call your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
What about dogs that were neutered years ago but occasionally seem to have testicles but not other times? An erection in a male dog, neutered or not, may be accompanied by two hard, egg-shaped lumps under the skin at the base of the penis. The “bulbus glandis” is truly a component of his penis’ anatomy. Most of the time, these “lumps are not visible, but when the penis engorges during arousal (sexual or any type of physiological stimulation, including play and stress), the bulbus glandis likewise swells and hardens, giving the impression that the dog has miraculously grown some very firm testicles! Their appearance is typical, transient, and unimportant.
Lameness in Young Dogs
Young dogs with orthopedic issues are always a concern, particularly those of larger breeds that may be susceptible to hip dysplasia. More than one of my dogs between the ages of six and twelve months has mysteriously developed lameness, limping significantly on one leg or unable to bear weight on it. usually the limp “From one limb to the other, it moves and always becomes worse with exercise. It appears to be quite dramatic, and it is simple to believe that it is a grave matter.
But in each of those instances, I was actually dealing with paneosteitis, a fancy term meaning “developing aches Although there are many theories—from high-protein dog food to viral infection to genetics—no one is certain what causes it. There is general agreement that while “Although pano is unpleasant, the dog eventually outgrows it and returns to normal.
Numerous breeds, including Rottweilers, Great Danes, German Shepherds, and my own breed, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, are prone to paneosteitis. When a dog owner reports that telltale behavior, “When a baby is between six and twelve months old and is limping, I typically advise giving them a baby aspirin (never, ever ibuprofen products like Advil, which is toxic to dogs). Aspirin typically provides pain relief in an hour or so if it is pano (though it will likely return once the drug wears off).
The owner is advised to keep the dog from being very active (good luck with an adolescent! ), visit her veterinarian, and request some painkillers if the discomfort seems excessive because there is no cure for pano other than tincture of time.
If you are aware of your dog’s past and whether pano “has a family history. Again, even if your dog is the source, don’t presume that your veterinarian will suspect pano “the appropriate breed and age. (If you Google “pano” and “Basset Hound,” you’ll find a ton of links where vets suspected, and in some cases, tested, and sometimes even treated, everything from elbow dysplasia to cancer.) Paneosteitis-related alterations in the bone marrow can be seen on radiographs.
If Your Dog Vomits Bile
It comes as a bit of a shock the first time your dog or puppy throws up a thick lump of bright yellow bile. Additionally, as vomiting can be a symptom of a serious issue, it should never be ignored out of hand. However, if your dog is otherwise happy and normal-acting, you are probably witnessing a dog letting go of a buildup of bile in his empty stomach. When “grazing outside, dogs occasionally munch grass, which, if the dog hasn’t eaten yet, induces bilious vomiting.
You can frequently get rid of the vomiting by making a small modification in your food because it is brought on by an empty stomach: Change your dog’s eating schedule or give him two meals each day rather than one.
Look at Your Dog’s Poop
Although it may sound disgusting, it’s crucial to check that your dog’s feces are regular and consistent in order to maintain his health.
Quinoa has gained popularity among pet owners who provide a diet made from scratch. Due to the cooked germ’s curled form, which might occasionally pass through a dog intact and be readily mistaken for roundworms in the feces, it is listed on my “Don’t Panic!” list. But at least now I know who is genuinely interested in their dog’s feces!