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There’s an STD among dogs that also poses a threat to their owners.
“Unfortunately, some of them look clinically fine, they just have the disease,” says Kansas State University veterinarian and Laboratory director Bill Fortney. He says many dog owners don’t know about Canine Brucellosis, an STD spread among the pets.
“It’s considered a sexually transmitted disease but unfortunately it can also spread by licking,” Fortney says.
It’s not just a threat to them – it’s potentially contagious in people and often brings with it an inconsistent fever.
“It concerns me a bit more,” Celeste Kirby says about her dog, Marty, “I mean, yeah, she’s indoors, she’s spayed, but she licks things, she licks everything, all dogs do.”
But the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory is working to decrease the changes of dogs getting infected. It’s one of just a few labs that offer quick and accurate blood tests for the disease.
“We’ve sent this off to Manhattan ever since we’ve been practicing,” says Dr. Darrell Carder at Stone House Animal Hospital in Topeka.
Carder adds, Brucellosis isn’t a huge threat to family dogs, it’s mainly a concern among breeders because it often leads to infertility. The problem is, most infected dogs don’t show any symptoms.
“If they do show symptoms, like an abortion or if the males have swollen testicles or testicular pain, even occasionally eye lesions that show up with this organism, then it should be on the list of things to be tested for,” Carder says.
Treatment for this disease in dogs includes antibiotics and typically getting spayed or neutered. Dr. Carder says even animals that are fixed can still get it.
He believes the number of cases in this area have decreased because of better testing, like at K-State.
If a dog is diagnosed with the disease, Carder suggests letting a physician know right away.