NSW dog owners beware of brucellosis

A spate of serious brucellosis (Brucella suis) infections is continuing to be reported in pig hunting dogs in the north west of New South Wales.

North West Local Land Services manager of Biosecurity and Emergencies Dr Shaun Slattery confirmed three pig hunting dogs in north-western NSW have recently tested positive for the Brucella suis strain of the disease, which originates in pigs.

“All three dogs have tested positive for brucellosis following suspected contact with infected feral pigs in the Moree area,” said Dr Slattery.

“The dogs presented separately to private veterinarians with clinical signs suggestive of brucellosis infection, including fever, vomiting, back pain, blood in urine, lethargy and enlarged testicles.”

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) senior veterinary officer pigs and poultry Dr Amanda Lee said NSW has seen an increase in the number of dogs presenting to vets with suspected brucellosis infection.

“Brucellosis (Brucella suis) is a serious infectious disease of pigs that can be passed on to other animals and people through contact with urine, blood, saliva and reproductive materials,” said Dr Lee.

“The cases we have seen in dogs in NSW have been either as a result of direct contact with an infected feral pig or pig meat, contact with another infected dog or as a result of the disease being passed on to a pup at birth.”

Owners are encouraged to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with this serious, notifiable disease and anyone who is concerned that their dog may have signs of brucellosis should contact their local veterinarian to have it assessed.

The veterinarian should email Dr Amanda Lee or phone 02 4640 6308 or if they consider the case suspect for brucellosis (Brucella suis).

The DPI recommends that dogs confirmed infected with brucellosisbe euthanased because of the potential risk to people.

It is essential that people who are at an increased risk of brucellosis infection, including feral pig hunters, farm workers, vets and abattoir workers practise good personal hygiene and wear protective clothing when in close contact with potentially infected animals.

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