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Pound Puppies Vet Talks Canine Brucellosis

Pound Puppies veterinarian Dr. Heather Grimm told the Northern Plains Independent that Canine Brucellosis is on the rise locally and may be a risk to humans.

“There is a drastic increase in the number of dogs that are testing positive or that we are diagnosing with B. canis,” said Grimm. “The Wolf Point Pound Puppies have very specific data that logs this information.”

According to data provided by Pound Puppies, 31 dogs tested positive for the disease on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation out of 471 animals sampled since 2019.

“Unfortunately, there is no vaccination available for this disease in dogs,” Grimm said. “It is generally deemed that antibiotic therapy is ineffective in dogs because the bacteria likes to hide in the body, very often in the vertebral bones where antibiotics can not effectively kill or stop the bacteria.”

Canine brucellosis is an important cause of reproductive failure in dogs, particularly in kennels. It is caused by the bacteria Brucella (bru-CELL-a) canis. Dogs and humans can be affected. Canine brucellois occurs in a number of countries worldwide. Once a dog is confirmed positive it is considered positive for life.

Said Grimm, “The primary mode of transmission is through reproductive fluids - semen, vaginal discharge or birthing fluids. Hence, the primary method to stop the spread of the disease is through spaying and neutering.”

Grimm said the bacteria may be transferable to humans.

“The CDC now believes that the bacteria is more of a zoonotic, infectious agent of animals that can infect humans and is likely very underdiagnosed. Children, the elderly and anyone immunocompromised are the most at risk people to become infected.”

All dogs that participate with the Wolf Point Pound Puppies program are tested for B. canis.

Grimm said the bacteria is one reason behind recent efforts by local authorities to reduce the stray dog population on the reservation. “Given the current lack of facilities and the difficulty of getting another shelter to take dogs that are positive, those dogs are humanely euthanized,” Grimm said.

To learn more about Canine brucellosis, visit cfsph. canine_brucellosis_F.pdf. Wolf Point Pound Puppies can be reached at 406-650-2177 or online at wolfpointpoundpuppies. org.

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