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.”
According to VCA Hospitals, “Canine brucellosis is a contagious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium, Brucella canis (B. canis). This bacterial infection is highly contagious between dogs. Infected dogs usually develop an infection of the reproductive system, or a sexually transmitted disease.”
The disease can infect goats, sheep, elk, pigs, deer, cattle, and other animals, it said.
“People who come in contact with breeding dogs, [or] newborn puppies … should use caution and practice good sanitation. Whenever possible, wear disposable gloves before handling newborn puppies or cleaning an area where a dog has whelped. After removal of the disposable gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well,” the website says.
‘Zombie’ Deer Disease
The warning comes several months after researchers from the University of Minnesota told lawmakers that a deadly illness that affects deer could spread to humans.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD), sometimes known as “zombie deer disease” because of how it makes the ruminant animals look in its final stages.
The U.S. Geological Survey describes the disease as a “fatal, neurological illness occurring in North American cervids (members of the deer family), including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose.”
It can cause disorientation, abnormal behavior, and ultimately death. “Infected animals can live for at least 16 months before dying, and their blood, tissues, and fecal material can remain a source of new infections for years after death,” said the University of Minnesota on its website.
Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.