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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Condition Overview

This condition is a major cause of sterility and spontaneous abortion in dogs. Puppies infected in utero are typically aborted at 45 to 59 days after conception. In a dog with an acute infection, bacteria are found in the blood, urine, body secretions, and the products of abortion.


Dogs with acute infection have enlarged lymph nodes in the groin and/or beneath the jaw and inflammation of the intervertebral disks in the lower back. Fever is rare. The testicles of the male may swell in the initial stages, and then become smaller and atrophic as the sperm-producing cells are destroyed. Note, however, that this disease can infect both male and female dogs without producing any signs of illness.


This disease is caused by the bacteria Brucella canis.


A positive blood culture obtained during an acute infection is the most conclusive diagnostic test. Bacteria can also be cultured from aborted tissue. Blood serum tests will determine if a dog has ever been infected.

Suspect this disease in any female who aborts two weeks before she is due to deliver and whenever a female delivers stillborn puppies or puppies who sicken and die.


Brucellosis is difficult to eradicate. A course of intramuscular and oral antibiotics given for a minimum of three weeks will eliminate the disease in 80 percent of dogs. To be considered cured, a dog must be free of the bacteria for at least 3 months. Since it is difficult to achieve a cure, it is recommended to spay or neuter all infected animals to prevent the transmission of disease to other dogs.


All animals should be tested before they are used in breeding. Brood females should be retested one month before each breeding, and ideally, stud dogs should be retested before every breeding.


Please contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may be infected with this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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