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Dogs quarantined after vicious disease detected.

Byline: The Washington Post

A small-dog commercial breeding facility in Marion County, Iowa, is the source of "multiple cases" of a canine disease that can be transmitted to humans, the state's agriculture department said.

Canine brucellosis is highly contagious among dogs and may cause catastrophic reproductive issues in the animals, including infertility, stillbirths and spontaneous abortions, according to the Iowa Department of Health. Health officials in Iowa have issued quarantines for facilities containing the exposed dogs as they undergo clinical testing.

State Veterinarian Jeff Kaisand on Friday issued a statement confirming multiple cases of the disease in dogs in central Iowa.

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.

A human infected with the disease may experience flu-like symptoms: fever, sweats, joint pain, weakness and headaches, according to the Iowa health department. Young children and people with weakened immune systems are at particular risk for complications, and Iowa State University reports that the disease could cause a woman to miscarry or give birth prematurely.

"That's why if we do have a positive dog, it has to be put down," Amy Heinz, founder and executive director of Iowa-based AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport, said in an interview. A woman "could find comfort in her little furry friend, and it could be her little furry friend that caused her miscarriage."

Heinz said her organization, which is based in De Soto, Iowa, is in the midst of a 30-day quarantine after purchasing 32 dogs from the cited breeding facility at an auction this month. The quarantine will have a dire effect on strays in the area, she said, as no dogs will be allowed in or out of the shelter for its duration.

"The strays in rural Iowa are up a creek right now," Heinz said.

Health officials say the disease is most commonly reported in breeding facilities, where staffers are trained to recognize and test for it. That means veterinarians, dog breeders and kennel workers are the most likely people to be exposed to canine brucellosis, but Heinz said her staff is aware of the associated risks.

Canine brucellosis is chronic and has no apparent cure, Edward Dubovi, a professor of virology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, told The Washington Post. Infected dogs may appear to be healthy - especially if they've been treated recently with antibiotics - which can skew results and cause sick canines to test negative for the disease.

"Part of the problem is it's difficult to treat," Dubovi said Monday. "Some of the tests go negative once treated, so you look like you're getting a good dog, but it's chronically infected."

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Title Annotation:Nation_
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:1U4IA
Date:May 15, 2019
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