Dogs with bacterial disease discovered in Iowa

Published: May. 12, 2019 at 9:29 AM CDT
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Multiple cases of a bacterial disease have been found in dogs in central Iowa, state officials said.

State veterinarian Dr. Jeff Kaisand said canine brucellosis appeared to have originated from a small dog commercial breeding facility in Marion County.

Both the animals and the facilities are quarantined while the dogs undergo clinical testing.

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to humans and other animals through contaminated reproductive fluids. The threat to most pet owners is considered very low, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Amy Heinz, with De Soto-based organization AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, said 31 dogs are quarantined at her facility.

"People buy puppies from these mills all the time," Heinz said. "They don't know what they're getting. They don't know to do a brucellosis test.

"We were hoping to give them a better life and not have to sit in a cage all day, but they're back to sitting in cages all day," she continued. "We had to have all the fosters bring them back in last night, and we set up a makeshift shelter in our garage."

The disease has affected the pet rescue's organization ability to save more pets.

"We have to set up all these biosecurity measures, and that takes time," she said. "Any stray dogs – and stray cats, for that matter – we're not allowed to take anybody in right now."

The dogs were tested Thursday night. Heinz said the animals that tested positive must be put down because it's not a curable disease.

If pet owners have recently acquired a new, small breed dog from Marion County, they should contact their veterinarian.

Iowa Department of Agriculture officials said it's always important to practice good biosecurity, such as thoroughly washing your hands after handling animals.

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