Brucellosis in Dogs

What is canine brucellosis?

Canine brucellosis is a contagious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium, Brucella canis (B. canis). This bacterial infection is highly contagious between dogs. Infected dogs usually develop an infection of the reproductive system, or a sexually transmitted disease.

Different species of Brucella infect sheep, goats, cattle, deer, elk, pigs, and other animals.

What are the signs of brucellosis?


Brucellosis in dogs typically causes reproductive problems such as infertility and abortions, with few other signs of clinical illness. The disease is most common in sexually intact adult dogs.

“Brucellosis in dogs typically causes reproductive problems such as infertility and abortions, with few other signs of clinical illness.”

Male dogs infected with brucellosis develop epididymitis, an infection in part of the testicle. A dog with a newly acquired infection will often have an enlarged scrotum or an enlarged testicle and may have a skin rash on the scrotum. The dog may be infertile. In chronic or long-standing cases, the testicles will atrophy or become shrunken.

Female dogs infected with brucellosis develop an infection of the uterus; causing her to be infertile, have difficulty getting pregnant, or she may abort in the late stages of pregnancy. She often has a persistent vaginal discharge. Typically, a pregnant dog with brucellosis will abort at 45-55 days of gestation or will give birth to stillborn or weak puppies that may die a few days after birth.

During the early stages of brucellosis, enlarged lymph nodes are common. Occasionally, B. canis will infect the intervertebral discs, eyes, kidneys, or brain. If the bacteria infects these other tissues, the signs will be related to the bodily system that is infected.