2017 December - B. suis in dogs


In NSW Brucella suis is a notifiable disease in both animals and people. Dogs and people are acquiring B. suis infections through feral pig hunting and eating undercooked feral pig meat. Infected dogs are a potential source of infection to people. Clinical signs in dogs include swollen testes, abortion, lameness and back pain, although many dogs (about 50%) show no clinical signs.

B. suis is zoonotic and is an occupational hazard to veterinary staff. To minimise the risk of an infected dog spreading the bacteria, DPI advises euthanasia or treatment, consisting of desexing and antibiotics (James et al, 2017). There is a chance that treated dogs may not respond or may relapse and become a risk again.

Dogs that are undergoing treatment should have two weeks of antibiotics prior to surgery, to minimise the work health and safety risk associated with desexing. DPI has safe work method statements guidelines for handling dogs infected with B. suis in the clinic.

Testing for B. suis is done on serum and is an antibody test. Dogs that undergo treatment should be tested every six months until antibody negative or as soon as possible if clinical signs return.

If clients have questions regarding human health, direct them to their local public health unit.


James DR, Golovsky G, Thornton JM, Goodchild L, Havlicek M, Martin P, Krockenberger MB, Marriot DJE, Ahuja V, Malik R and Mor SM. Clinical management of Brucella suis infection in dogs and implications for public health. Australian Veterinary Journal 2017; 95:19-25. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/avj.12550/pdf