In Iowa, a Dog Disease That Can Be Passed to Humans

The infected dogs purchased by the AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport

Enlarge Image Facebook AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport

Dogs are causing people to fall sick in Iowa according to health officials who have confirmed several cases of bacterial disease spread by canines to state residents.

Both the animals and the facilities are quarantined while the dogs undergo clinical testing.

In dogs, signs of the disease include infertility, spontaneous abortions and stillbirths.

A human infected with the disease may experience flu-like symptoms: fever, sweats, joint pain, weakness and headaches, according to the health department. "Those highest risk transmissions are going to come from the birthing process, so most dog owners are at very low risk".

They also advised anyone who recently bought a small breed dog from Marion County to check in with their pet's veterinarian.

The dogs were tested Thursday night.

An Iowa animal rescue organization said it has quarantined 32 dogs. "We also issued quarantines to make sure that we stop the spread of the disease", Kaisand said.

It wasn't immediately clear how many dogs were infected in Iowa. It requires close contact with infected dogs. Pregnant women, young children and elderly with a weak immunity are also at risk of getting this infection, they explain.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recommends visiting a veterinarian and a physician if your dog shows symptoms of Canine Brucellosis and also recommends that all pet owners wash their hands after handling their pets in an effort to "practice good biosecurity".

While it is rarely reported in humans, canine brucellosis is zoonotic - meaning it can infect people through contaminated blood, urine, milk or other reproductive fluids. "Therefore, we have closed our shelter building for the next 30 days", the adoption service wrote in a Facebook post.

"This is just one more reason to ADOPT and not SHOP!" the organization added. Their review titled, "Canine Brucellosis: Old Foe and Reemerging Scourge", was published in the journal The Veterinary Clinics of North America. This bacterial infection is highly contagious between dogs.

The researchers caution that all dogs need to be mandatorily screened and tested for the infection before they are imported or cleared for interstate travel.

Amy Heinz said they spent an average of $312 per dog at the auction and will pay well over $500 per dog to spay or neuter, vaccinate, other medical care and microchipping.

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