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Brucella Suis in dogs - testing and treatment available

Brucella suis (Brucellosis), a disease previously thought to be limited to Queensland, has been detected in feral pigs, people and pig hunting dogs in NSW. North West NSW has seen the highest number of Brucella suis cases in dogs. However, the disease is on the move and Local Land Services is advising groups at risk, such as feral pig hunters, to take care when handling feral pigs and hunting dogs.

The majority of infected dogs have a history of feral pig hunting or access to raw feral pig meat. Common signs in dogs include fever, lethargy, abortion, enlarged testicles, lameness and back pain, though it can present with a range of symptoms. Many of the cases have presented with no clinical signs of disease.

Testing is available for Brucella suis infection in dogs. If you are interested in having your dog tested please contact your private veterinarian. The cost of laboratory fees for testing of dogs with symptoms is covered by the Department of Primary Industries, however other fees are the responsibility of the dog owner.

Recent experience with Brucella suis in dogs in NSW has led to development of treatment protocols. Discuss with your private veterinarian management of B. suis in dogs.

The Game Licensing Unit and researchers at the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne are interested in learning more about the spread of the disease. As part of this study and for a limited time, laboratory fees are also being covered for eligible dogs that present to certain vet clinics in the Braidwood, Scone/Gloucester, Mudgee, Coonabarabran and Moree districts. Other veterinary fees are the responsibility of the dog owner. Eligible dogs are those which have no symptoms of disease but which have a history of pig hunting or access to raw feral pig meat. Contact your district veterinarian for further details about the study.

For more information on Brucella suis in dogs refer to the 'Brucellosis in dogs' primefact from the Department of Primary Industries and the ‘Hunt safe, hunt legal – be a responsible pig dogger guide’ for more information on minimising the risk of disease to you, your family, and your dogs.

Brucella suis infection in people causes severe flu-like symptoms including intermittent fever, sweating, lethargy, loss of appetite, headaches, and joint and muscle pain. People get infected when handling feral pigs and feral pig meat and, potentially from infected dogs. For more information on brucellosis in people refer to the NSW Health Brucellosis Factsheet.

Local Land Services district veterinarians are a link between human health practitioners, private veterinarians, and land owners. They are keen to improve awareness of diseases that can transmit from animals to people so that those at risk can best protect themselves.

If you have any further questions on Brucella suis please contact your district veterinarian through your nearest Local Land Services office on 4842 2594.


Media contact: Kate Sawford 0427 422 530 South East Local Land Services Braidwood District Veterinarian