Seriously, don’t kiss your dog

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Iowa officials are warning residents about a disease in dogs that can be passed to humans.

Dr. Jeff Kaisand, the state veterinarian, has confirmed several cases of "canine Brucellosis" coming from a commercial small-dog breeding facility in Marion County, Iowa. The sickness is known to only affect dogs and humans, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

"We are in the process of notifying the individuals who have custody of the exposed dogs," a Friday news release from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship states. "Both the animals and the facilities are quarantined while the dogs undergo clinical testing."

The zoonotic bacterial disease, "zoonotic" meaning the sickness can be transmitted from one animal to people or other types of animals, is spread through reproductive fluids, the release states.

Signs of the disease in a dog include infertility, spontaneous abortions and stillbirths, according to the department of public health. Symptoms for humans include fever, sweats, headache, joint pain and weakness.

Those who have recently acquired a small dog from Marion County should get their pet  tested, Kaisand said. Pet owners and those who come in contact with animals are being reminded to wash their hands regularly. 

"The threat to most pet owners is considered very low," the release reads. "Dog breeders, veterinary staff and anyone who comes in contact with blood, tissues and fluids during the birthing process may be at higher risk and should consult their primary care physician."

The disease is most common in kennels and breeding facilities, the Iowa Department of Public Health said.

A De Soto, Iowa-based animal adoption service posted on Facebook on Friday about the disease. AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport reported that a Knoxville, Iowa, breeder had dogs that tested positive for the disease. A call to the rescue's owner, Amy Heinz, has not yet been returned.

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