Disease Warning Issued for Dog Owners in Montcalm and Calhoun Counties

Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-26 17:33:20-05
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LANSING, Mich. — The state veterinarian issued a warning for dog owners in three areas of Michigan after a bacterial disease surfaced recently.

According to a Tuesday release from the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, three outbreaks of canine brucellosis have been discovered in those regions in the past four months.  A total of eight dogs have been euthanized.

Two of those areas, Montcalm and Calhoun counties, are in West Michigan. The third is Mackinac County.

Brucellosis is transmittable to humans through exposure to saliva, feces, urine, birthing fluids and eye or nasal fluids.

People who contract the disease experience flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, body aches, headaches and sweating.  They may also develop more serious, prolonged conditions.

Signs in dogs include failure to become pregnant, abortions, stillbirths, inflammation in the male reproductive system, semen abnormalities, eye abnormalities and severe back pain, according to the release.  There is no vaccine for to prevent it.

The Montcalm County case involves a dog breeder with six dogs.  That breeder contacted a veterinarian after one of the female dogs exhibited symptoms.

“Brucellosis is a reportable disease and any person who suspects their dog is infected or may have come from a breeder with infected dogs should contact their veterinarian and have the dog tested,” said  State Veteranarian Dr. James Averill. “Pets do not have to be euthanized, but it’s important to follow the guidelines to prevent spreading the infection, including spaying or neutering, and isolation from other dogs.”

Antibiotics do not cure brucellosis.  Spaying and neutering infected dogs reduces the risk of spreading it to humans and other dogs.