The Iowa State Veterinarian confirmed “multiple” cases of canine brucellosis, a disease that can be transmitted from infected dogs to humans and other animals.
The disease originated at a small dog commercial breeding facility in Marion County, the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship said in a statement.
The animals and the facility are quarantined as dogs undergo testing, the department said.
While the threat to pet owners is low, “dog breeders, veterinary staff and anyone who comes in contact with blood, tissues and fluids during the birthing process may be at higher risk and should consult their primary physician,” the department said.
“If pet owners have recently acquired a new, small breed dog from Marion Co., they should contact their veterinarian,” the department said.
An Iowa State University fact sheet on the disease recommends protective clothing, including gloves and masks, for anyone handling reproductive tissues and assisting with the delivery of newborn puppies, and says “always wash your hands after touching animals.”
Human infection from the disease is rare, the university said. It requires close contact with infected dogs. Infections cause flu-like symptoms – including fever and back pain – as well as joint pain. Rarely, the university said, cases can involve the nervous system, eyes or heart.
AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport Inc., an animal rescue organization in De Soto, Iowa, has quarantined 32 dogs purchased at an auction from a breeder while they undergo testing.
“We have not received any results yet,” the organization said on Facebook. “Therefore, we have closed our shelter building for the next 30 days.”
“This is just one more reason to ADOPT and not SHOP! Please pray for our sweet babies that were finally getting the chance to have a happy life.”
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of the disease.