Epidemiological assessment of canine brucellosis

Avaliação epidemiológica da brucelose canina

J. Megid A.F. Brito C.C.G. Moraes N. Fava J. Agottani About the authors

Abstract

Observou-se brucelose canina em quatro canis diferentes. Os canis apresentaram animais com história de aborto, mortalidade em neonatos e nascimentos prematuros. A porcentagem de animais soropositivos para brucelose canina, pela prova de imunodifusão em ágar gel, variou de 4,6 a 57,1%. Observou-se correlação positiva entre porcentagem de animais positivos e aspectos reprodutivos e condições de aglomeração.

Cão; brucelose; epidemiologia; sorologia


Dog; brucellosis; epidemiology; serology

Cão; brucelose; epidemiologia; sorologia

COMMUNICATION

Comunicação

Epidemiological assessment of canine brucellosis

(Avaliação epidemiológica da brucelose canina)

J. Megid1, A.F. Brito, C.C.G. Moraes, N. Fava, J. Agottani2

1Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia - UNESP, Campus Botucatu

Caixa Postal 560

18610 – Botucatu, SP

2Instituto de Tecnologia do Paraná-TECPAR-Curitiba-PR

E-mail: jane@fmvz.unesp.br

1Instituto Tecnológico do Paraná, TECPAR

Canine brucellosis, caused by Brucella canis is an infectious disease, characterized by abortions and sterility in bitches and orquitis and epididymitis in males. First described in the United States in 1966, it has been identified throughout the world (Berthelot & Garin-Bastuji, 1993). In Brazil, serological surveys in dogs show prevalence varying between 3 and 22.7% depending on region and animal husbandry (Schlemper & Vaz, 1990; Germano et al., 1987; Neto et al., 1992). Vargas et al. (1996) have also reported a 72.7 serum-positive percentage in dogs. In spite of these studies, little importance has been given to canine brucellosis. Despite its limited host range, B. canis might infect humans and should be considered as a zoonotic pathogen.

Serum from 151 poodle dogs were analyzed by immunodifusion technique in agar gel with B. ovis as antigen (somatic cell wall antigen) according to the procedure recommended by the producer laboratory1. Samples came from different kennels, identified as kennel A, B, C and D, which had animals with records of abortions, neonatal mortality and premature birth. The animals’ records were obtained during blood collection, focusing mainly on the reproductive performance and housing conditions.

Kennel A had 25 animals, Poodle breed, being 21 bitches and 4 males. The animals were kept in individual cages with good husbandry. One of the bitches had a record of abortion and was positive for brucellosis. Further two positive bitches were found among the other animals in the kennel, resulting 12% positivity (3/25). Kennel B had in common with kennel A the mating of its bitches to the same stud dog (which had a previous positive diagnosis). Twenty-nine animals were tested in this kennel, all Poodles, 3 males and 6 bitches tested positive, of which two had had abortions. The animals were kept free and in common pen, without mating control. The kennel serology was 31% positive. Kennel C had on record the purchase of 2 positive bitches, one of which had had abortion and pyometra whereas the other never was mated. All the other animals in this kennel, 36 bitches and 5 males, were tested negative. The mating of animals in the kennel was carried out almost exclusively by its own stud dog, which also occasionally mated outside the kennel, so 4.6% tested positive. Twenty-nine animals were tested in kennel D, 21 Poodles and 8 Beagles. The laters had been recently purchased and were kept isolated. This kennel was a highly commercial establishment for breeding Poodles, with animals from different regions, sales of mating by its stud dogs and mating of its bitches by other stud dogs. The problem was found in the Poodle population, with 10 positive bitches and 2 positive males, totalizing 57.1% of positive Poodles and 41.4% of positive dogs for the hole population in the kennel. A record of abortion, premature whelping and puppy deaths were found in 7 of the positive bitches. The other three bitches had never been mated, two were 7-month-old and the other, one-and-a-half year old. Repeated abortions, premature whelping and neonatal deaths in the second pregnancy were found in the animals which had previously miscarried. The abortions and premature whelping happened at 50-57 days of pregnancy.

The percentage of serum-positive animals in the kennels varied from 4.6% to 57.1%. The greatest prevalence was found in kennel in which the animals were kept in common pens (31%), whose stud dogs had frequent external mating and also mated to the kennel’s bitches together with bitches mated by different animals (57.1%). The lowest prevalence was found in kennels in which the animals were kept in individual cages (12%) and where, in addition to this factor, the bitches were almost exclusively mated to the kennel’s stud dog, which rarely mated to non-kennel bitches (4.6%). These aspects of mating control and agglomeration are important factors to be considered in brucellosis transmission and agree with the findings of Carmichael & Greene (1990).

Abortions and premature whelping, which are the main symptoms of canine brucellosis in pregnant bitches (Berthelot & Garin-Bastuji, 1993), were found in 50% of the serum-positive animals. The occurrence of serum-positive animals whose infection was not correlated to mating may be explained by the contact with remains of abortion materials and vaginal secretions during the positive bitches’ oestrous, or even by contact with the urine of male carriers (Carmichael & Greene, 1990) with consequent oronasal penetration.

Venereal transmission of B. canis has been reported by several authors (Berthelot & Garin-Bastuji, 1993; Carmichael, 1976; Carmichael & Greene, 1990) and it is well characterized in kennels A and B where the epidemiological tracing revealed the mating of bitches by the same seropositive stud dog as a common factor for infection.

The occurrence of clinical cases of canine brucellosis, as well as positive serum detected in dogs alert to the risk of the disease in animals and its consequences for public health. Proper clinical diagnosis confirmed by laboratory tests, hygienic and therapeutic measures and non-specific prophylactic measures provide the basis to control the disease in kennels and also minimize the risk to human beings.

Keywords: Dog, brucellosis, epidemiology, serology

RESUMO

Observou-se brucelose canina em quatro canis diferentes. Os canis apresentaram animais com história de aborto, mortalidade em neonatos e nascimentos prematuros. A porcentagem de animais soropositivos para brucelose canina, pela prova de imunodifusão em ágar gel, variou de 4,6 a 57,1%. Observou-se correlação positiva entre porcentagem de animais positivos e aspectos reprodutivos e condições de aglomeração.

Palavras-Chave: Cão, brucelose, epidemiologia, sorologia

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    05 Apr 2001
  • Date of issue
    Oct 1999

History

  • Received
    02 Feb 1999
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil
E-mail: abmvz.artigo@abmvz.org.br