02267-A: An Epidemiological Study of Brucella canis

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $14,985
Tory V Whitten, MPH and Joni M. Scheftel, DVM, MPH; Minnesota Department of Health
May 1, 2016 - December 31, 2017

Sponsor(s): Labrador Retriever Club, Inc., Yorkshire Terrier Club of America Foundation, Inc.

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Reproductive Conditions
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Canine brucellosis is a reproductive disease caused by the bacterium Brucella canis (B. canis) that can cause infertility, abortion and severe spinal infections in dogs. Though well understood in the context of canine breeding operations, this disease is an under-recognized public health issue in the canine rescue and shelter populations, and may constitute a source of infection to the dog and human populations. In 2015 there was an increase in the number of rescue dogs identified with canine brucellosis in Minnesota where, prior to 2015, there had been no cases of canine brucellosis identified in a dog not used in a breeding program.

This study will measure how common exposure to this disease is in rescue and shelter dogs entering Minnesota, as a first step to understanding prevalence of this important reproductive disease. A screening test will be used to determine the presence of B. canis antibodies in the blood of sampled dogs; positive samples will be confirmed by further definitive testing.

The results of the study will be used to determine prevalence and raise awareness of this disease in rescue and shelter dog populations, help identify risk factors for canine brucellosis, and to develop a diagnostic PCR test for canine brucellosis at the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. An important outcome of this study will be to create prevention and control measures applicable to this important population of dogs.


Whitten, T. V., Brayshaw, G., Patnayak, D., Alvarez, J., Larson, C. M., Root Kustritz, M., … Scheftel, J. M. (2019). Seroprevalence of Brucella canis Antibodies in Dogs Entering a Minnesota Humane Society, Minnesota, 2016–2017. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2019.04.015

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