top of page

Comprehensive Guide to Brucellosis in Dogs

Brucellosis in dogs, caused by the bacterium Brucella canis, is a serious infection that can lead to infertility, stillborn puppies, and weak litters. Understanding this disease, its implications, and prevention methods is crucial for maintaining a healthy breeding program. This guide provides detailed information on diagnosing, managing, and preventing Brucellosis in dogs.

Understanding Brucellosis in Dogs

What is Brucellosis? Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the reproductive system in dogs. It can cause:

  • Infertility: Failure to conceive is often the first sign of infection.

  • Abortion: Spontaneous abortion usually occurs between 45 to 59 days of pregnancy, accompanied by highly contagious vaginal discharge.

  • Stillbirths and Weak Puppies: Infection can result in fetal death, stillborn puppies, and weak or sickly litters.


  • Brucella canis is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids such as vaginal discharge, semen, urine, aborted material, and placenta.

  • Chronically infected dogs can intermittently shed the bacteria, especially when stressed, making them a continuous source of infection.

Diagnosing Brucellosis

Clinical Signs:

  • Females who fail to conceive or show signs of abortion and weak litters.

  • Males may exhibit inflammation of the prostate or epididymis, leading to fertility issues.

Diagnostic Tests:

  1. RSAT Card Test:

  • Highly sensitive but not highly specific, meaning it can result in false positives. However, it is useful for initial screening.

  1. Brucella Culture:

  • Culturing vaginal swabs or serum provides definitive diagnosis but can take up to three weeks for results.

  1. Agar Gel Immunodiffusion (AGID):

  • Used to confirm positive results; highly accurate but expensive and time-consuming.

  1. PCR Test:

  • The most accurate and fastest method, detecting even low levels of bacterial DNA. Conducted by institutions like Iowa State University and Kansas State University, this test reduces the likelihood of false positives and negatives.

Managing Brucellosis

Preventive Measures:

  1. Testing New Additions:

  • Any new dogs entering your kennel should be tested using the PCR method and isolated for four weeks before introduction.

  • Re-test adult dogs twice, 60 days apart, to ensure they are not carriers.

  1. Artificial Insemination (AI):

  • Using AI can significantly reduce the risk of disease transmission during breeding.

Treatment Challenges:

  • There is no effective treatment for Brucella canis, and infected dogs typically need to be removed from the breeding population to prevent spread.

  • Antibiotics can temporarily reduce bacteria levels in the blood but do not eliminate the infection from the body, making reactivation likely.

Preventing Infection Spread

Breeding Practices:

  • Only breed dogs that have tested negative for brucellosis via PCR within 30 days of breeding.

  • Prefer AI over natural breeding to minimize contact and reduce transmission risk.

Managing Infected Dogs:

  • Infected dogs should be isolated and euthanized to prevent the spread of the infection.

  • Maintain strict biosecurity measures to prevent introduction and spread within your kennel.

Routine Screening:

  • Regular screening of all dogs in the kennel is essential to detect and manage Brucellosis early.

  • Implement a robust biosecurity protocol to minimize the risk of infection.


Brucellosis is a severe bacterial infection that can devastate a breeding program if not managed correctly. Regular testing, preventive measures like AI, and strict biosecurity protocols are essential to prevent and control this disease. By understanding the transmission, diagnostic methods, and management strategies, breeders can protect their kennels from the detrimental effects of Brucellosis.

For more detailed information and to explore our range of products for managing canine health, visit or call us at 800-658-5308. We are dedicated to helping you ensure the health and success of your breeding program through expert advice and top-quality products.

Brucellosis in Dogs Chart
Brucellosis in Dogs Chart


Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page