Brucellosis is a bacterial infection caused by different species of Brucella. The ones causing brucellosis in dogs belong to the species Brucella canis. In female dogs, brucellosis results in abortion, and in males, it affects the reproductive organs, and causes infertility. Brucellosis has a widespread distribution around the world, affecting dogs of all breeds and ages. It is highly infectious, especially in dogs confined together. Transmission of the disease is either sexually or by ingesting materials contaminated by the pathogen.
An abortion in the last trimester without any other pre-existing disorders is often an indication of brucellosis in female dogs. Once the dog has had an abortion due to this infection, they usually recur in pregnancies in the future also. Infected males are usually reluctant to mate as their testicles or epididymides may be inflamed. Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease which can be a dangerous for humans, even though dog to human transmission is not very common.
Infections by other species such as Brucella abortus, B. melitensis, or B. suis, may rarely occur in dogs that are in close interaction with livestock in which these species are the usual causes of brucellosis.
Laboratory tests can diagnose brucellosis. Dogs found to be infected are isolated to prevent the spread of the disease. Since it is extremely difficult to treat this disease successfully, the more viable option is euthanasia of dogs with brucellosis. In several states, it is mandatory to report all cases of brucellosis to the respective health departments. Breeding of infected dogs is not done.