Brucella Canis homecare guidelines (awaiting test results)

Brucella canis is a recognised zoonotic pathogen (transmittable to humans), but human cases are rarely reported globally. In dogs it can cause reproductive failure and also discospondilytis (a bacterial or fungal infection of the disks and bones in the spine). Therefore, clinical signs may be vague or non-specific in dogs, with the main presenting signs being reproductive failure (in dogs and bitches), as well as lameness, skin issues, and back or joint pain often as a result of discospondylitis.

If your dog has been in contact with a confirmed brucella Canis case, it is advised that you isolate your dog at home immediately and to contact your vet. Your dog must only be allowed into the garden to toilet and you must clean up any faeces or urine immediately afterwards.

Testing for Brucella Canis can be provided via a blood sample from your dog that is sent off to a lab- the results (dependent on the lab) can take approximately 7 working days to be available at which point the Vet will call with results. In the meantime, your dog must be isolated at home whilst awaiting results with no contact with other dogs, or individuals from outside of the household. If these results are confirmed to be negative, it is recommended to book in for another blood test three months later as Brucella Canis can take up to three months before it is prevalent in blood results.

Cleaning and Hygiene Advice

Hand hygiene should be followed in the home following the World Health Organisation handwash guidelines (see link below), with limited contact with your dog where possible, and immediate handwashing using antibacterial handwash following contact with your dog or any contaminated surfaces (e.g. dogs food bowl). Direct contact with any bodily fluids such as saliva, nasal discharge, urine, faeces, blood and reproductive fluids should be avoided. Anyone who is immunocompromised, and children under 5 years are believed to be at greater risk, so therefore should not interact with any animal with suspected exposure to Brucella Canis.

WHO Handwash Guidelines: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/patient-safety/how-to-handwash-poster.pdf?sfvrsn=7004a09d_2

A cleaning regime should be followed in the household to prevent spread of Brucella Canis via contaminated surfaces, with thorough cleaning and disinfecting of any surfaces that may have become contaminated with your dogs saliva, urine, faeces, blood, nasal discharge or any reproductive fluids. To clean potentially infectious areas, precautions should be taken to avoid direct contact with any bodily fluids and the area should be cleaned with soapy water, then a bleach solution (1:30 of bleach:water) and left for a contact time of 10 minutes before being rinsed with plain water. Spray disinfectants should be avoided to prevent generation of aerosols (airborne droplets) which could spread onto further surfaces. Soft furnishings may be steam cleaned. The area where the dog is housed should be deep cleaned at least twice weekly to lower bacterial load. Any clothing that has been contaminated with any bodily fluids from your dog must be washed at 60 degrees celsius or disposed of. The most common way transmission from dogs to people can occur is through contact with birthing fluids, abortion products, afterbirths and vaginal discharges from an infected dog that has recently given birth or aborted however it can also be present in dogs milk, blood and other bodily fluids (but in much lower concentrations). Transmission can occur if these infectious materials come in contact with broken/damaged skin (eg cuts, grazes) or mucous membranes (eg mouth/eyes).

If you suspect you have been exposed to Brucella Canis by contact of your dogs bodily fluids through damaged skin or via the mouth or eyes PLEASE CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY.

Further information regarding Brucella Canis is available online via DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and APHA (Animal and Health Plant Agency):

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_dat a/file/960013/20210210_Brucella_canis_statement.pdf