Brucellosis affects mainly farm animals but dogs may harbor the
bacteria that cause the disease and spread it to other animals
and people. Dog-to-human transmission is rare; the risk is higher
for people who work around animals and pets — for veterinarians,
for example — that it is for pet owners. Only a couple of hundred
cases occur in the United States each year. The most common way
of contracting the disease is eating or drinking contaminated
milk products. Americans sometimes get brucellosis from eating
unpasteurized milk or cheese while traveling in certain parts of
Europe, Asia, and Africa.
The disease is caused by bacteria in the genus Brucella. The
species that infects dogs is called Brucella canis.
The symptoms are similar to those produced by influenza: fever,
headaches, back pain, and physical weakness. In severe cases, the
infection gets into the central nervous system or lining of the
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