In the last two years, there have been increasing numbers of dogs identified in the UK with Brucella canis infection. Such dogs have usually been imported or have travelled to countries where Brucella canis is endemic. Due to the zoonotic risk associated with this infectious agent, we are increasing the precautionary measures that we take for the health and safety of owners, their pets, and our staff and students.

Recommendation for referral of dogs with a travel history:

We strongly recommend that any dog that has been imported to the United Kingdom or has a travel history to countries where Brucella canis is endemic is tested prior to referral to the QMHA. This is particularly important for any dog that has clinical signs that could be associated with Brucella canis infection.

Clinical signs commonly reported include:

  • Infertility (male and female)
  • Abortion, ill-thrift puppies, peri-natal mortality
  • Enlarged or shrunken testes/epididymis
  • Lameness
  • Spinal pain/discospondylitis
  • Unexplained uveitis
  • Fever
  • Lymphadenomegaly
  • Lethargy

We will be asking you to indicate on our referral form your knowledge about whether the dog has been imported, whether you are aware of a travel history for the dog, whether the dog has been tested for Brucella canis and the Brucella canis status where known. Where concern is raised, we may require you to test the dog before we can accept the referral.

For dogs with a travel or importation history, we reserve the right to require testing at initial consultation where this has not already been performed. In this scenario, hospitalisation and investigation may be delayed. For those dogs, that have potential recent exposure and test negative, further testing after 3 months may be required.

Dogs requiring urgent veterinary care with clinical suspicion for Brucella canis infection

Where there is history of travel or importation or clinical concern for Brucella canis but the dog requires urgent veterinary evaluation, please contact the QMHA in order to discuss referral. Emergency management may be possible but will be considered on an individual patient basis and is likely to involve additional precautionary measures. Clients of such dogs should be made aware that there may be diagnostic investigations and treatments that are not possible in this situation.

Dogs with known positive Brucella canis status

If you would like advice or to discuss options for a dog with known positive Brucella canis status please contact us to discuss options prior to trying to organise referral. Our recommendations will be in line with current government guidance.

Diagnostic testing for Brucella canis

We require serological testing for Brucella canis to be performed by the APHA laboratory. We advise performing both the SAT and ELISA test (2ml serum) together. Test results are likely to take 7-21 days although rapid turnaround testing is possible for an additional fee. PCR testing is not recommended given the high rate of false negative results.

Further information regarding testing can be found here: 

APHA lab form:


Please forward the test results to or include the results in the patient information that you are providing for referral so that we can include this in our records.

Further information:

If you require further information about Brucella canis we recommend reviewing the information that has been provided by APHA, PHE and BVA.

If you would like to discuss a specific case in relation to Brucella canis testing or infection please contact us either by completion of an advice form or directly through our reception team:


Telephone: +44 (0) 1707 666399

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