Dogs are man’s best friend and for very good reasons. Their loyalty beats that of most animals. However, it’s unfortunate that your dog can’t be bacteria free. Dogs, like every other animal, are prone to bacterial infections. One infection that is highly contagious between dogs is Canine brucellosis. This is a contagious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium, Brucella Canis (B. Canis). It leads to an infection of the reproductive system that causes spontaneous abortion, infertility, stillbirth and other clinical illnesses.
The major reason this is a problem for dog owners is that it is a zoonotic disease. Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted from animals to humans. While chances of humans getting Canine Brucellosis from dogs is low, it doesn’t hurt to be careful.
Meanwhile, dogs with Brucellosis disease need to be quarantined. This is a necessity because they can infect other dogs as well. A large amount of the bacteria is usually shed in genital secretions — that means the semen and vaginal discharge. Also, you can find it in smaller amounts in the urine and saliva.
Therefore, for dogs who are prone to sniffing their butts or sniffing around on urine or any discharge, they can get infected. They can catch the disease either sexually or orally. Other means of transmission include fluid discharge after abortion, licking or chewing on placental materials or aborted fetus, inhalation and mucus.
Humans and Brucellosis infection
It is not unusual to find a dog owner to express his affection by kissing his dog. A simple peck on the dog’s mouth could result in a slobbering returned kiss from the affectionate animal. This is one way of getting bacteria-infested saliva transferred to your mouth from your dog, however innocently done. Even when you don’t make the first move, your dog probably loves kissing you. On an overall basis of cleanliness, this is not advisable.
Humans with the Brucellosis infection usually exhibit symptoms of fever, sweats, headache, joint pain and weakness.
Precautions for dog owners
The first step to being cautious against the infection is to have your dog tested regularly. This can be done every three to six weeks. Also, you should ensure you don’t expose your dog to other dogs often. Since it can be spread to humans through blood, semen, uterine discharge or secretion, ensure you follow these rules:
- Wear gloves when cleaning after dogs or handling a newborn.
- Dispose of the gloves.
- Wash hands with soap and rinse well.
Basically, good hygiene and sanitation is all you need.