Dog sparks health alert for owners

Concern about risk to humans from Brucella canis

source: James Meikle Guardian August 24 2002 p14

The first case of Brucella canis has been reported in Britain, and affected a pet dog owned by a Spanish family which had journeyed from the US. Brucella canis can be treated using antibiotics, and leads to symptoms resembling influenza, such as fatigue and a high temperature. Damage to the heart is a risk, though is rare. The case was discovered in Berkshire, England, after the dog had been released from quarantine.

Vets argue that the possibility of brucellosis should be investigated if dogs show symptoms of urinary tract disease or spinal problems, and have come from areas where the disease is endemic. The dog has been cured, and has since travelled between Spain and the UK, using the pet travel scheme, where no quarantine is needed. The case does lead to concern, with more pets travelling from one country to another. Public health scientist, Robert Smith, argues that pets that are well cared for should not pose a risk for their owners, especially if vets are alert.