Canine Brucellosis concerns and watch out for West Nile virus

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board of animal health

Animal Bytes

September 2022

Canine Brucellosis cases keep climbing in Minnesota

Dog in grass

The Board of Animal Health is tracking increased cases of canine brucellosis linked to dogs being imported from areas of the country where the disease is endemic in stray dogs. Each detection is incredibly disheartening because one case can lead to many more affected dogs being discovered, and each canine brucellosis-positive dog is considered not-curable, and must either be euthanized or quarantined for life. Some of the recent cases in Minnesota affected entire litters and Board staff tracked down individual litter mates in their new adoptive homes to evaluate the risk of disease spread.

Canine brucellosis poses the highest risk to sexually intact animals, and also can spread among spayed or neutered animals. It's spread dog-to-dog in birth tissues, fluids, semen, saliva, urine and stool. This bacteria can also infect people, and the disease is zoonotic. The Minnesota Department of Health has resources for human infections and potential symptoms. The bacteria is easily killed by routine disinfectants. However, it can survive in the environment for months (including winter in Minnesota).

In dogs, the clinical signs include reproductive issues, abortions, inability to conceive, spinal infection and chronic back pain, urinary tract issues, enlarged lymph nodes, and other non-specific signs. Unfortunately, many positive dogs show no signs of infection.

The Board recommends testing all intact dogs coming into Minnesota from high-risk areas between 8-12 weeks after their last known possible exposure, and to test any dog that has contact with an infected dog. Testing is complicated and veterinarians or anyone interested in testing should contact the Board to discuss tests and protocols.

Keep reading...

The background and benefits of Radio Frequency ID

RFID tags are a technological tool farmers and veterinarians can use to improve the health and value of livestock. While not a new technology, it does raise a lot of questions, like how can it be used, to what is the point?

RFID tags look nearly identical to common plastic ear tags with the exception of having a small, detectable, chip inside. When the tag is read by a RFID panel or wand, the owner can use the unique ID to track numerous characteristics about the animal like weight, vaccinations, feed, or location.

Interested in learning more about how you can get started using RFID? Download a copy of the new RFID flyer from our website.

West Nile virus cases continue popping up across Minnesota

The first confirmed case of West Nile virus (WNv) this year was in August in a horse in Kandiyohi County. Since then there have been additional cases confirmed in more horses around the state. Recent equine detection locations include Winona, Fillmore and Mower Counties. This is a high-risk time of year for West Nile virus transmission.

Horse owners and their veterinarians should keep a routine vaccination program that includes West Nile virus. The virus can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Infected horses may or may not show neurological symptoms and may recover completely, especially those who have a history of annual vaccination.

In addition to vaccinations, horse owners can reduce environmental risks of West Nile virus by reducing mosquitoes:

  • Change water in drinking troughs every week.
  • Mow long grass.
  • Drain stagnant water puddles.
  • Remove items mosquitoes use for breeding grounds, like old tires and tin cans.
  • Place and maintain screens over windows and stable doors.
  • Use mosquito repellents to protect horses and people from mosquito bites.

New HPAI tools

Take Action on Nearby HPAI with our new online map. Use this mapping tool to enter your address and see if you are in either a Control Area or Surveillance Zone. If your address is inside of one of these zones a popup will appear with further instructions for either backyard or commercial premises.

The Board also launched a new online Sick Bird form to report sick domestic birds when you suspect avian influenza in your flock.

Dr. Marion Garcia

Dr. Marion Garcia starts as new State Veterinarian and Executive Director

The Board hired Dr. Garcia at a special meeting on August 17, 2022. Dr. Garcia officially started her duties on Tuesday, September 13 and is quickly getting up to speed on important issues like Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and the many other regulatory diseases the Board oversees.

Board meeting recording available

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health held its third quarterly meeting of 2022 this week in Morris, Minnesota. You can view the meeting recording online.