LANSING (WWJ/AP) – State officials say they’ve had three investigations into a bacterial disease that affects dogs in Michigan during the past four months.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and State Veterinarian Dr. James Averill on Tuesday issued an update about Canine Brucellosis in dogs. They say the cases were investigated in Montcalm, Calhoun, and Mackinac counties.

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“Antibiotics will not cure canine brucellosis. Once a dog is infected, the animal remains infected for life,” Averill said. ”While spaying and neutering infected dogs will reduce the risk of spreading canine brucellosis to humans or other dogs, the risk of spread is not completely eliminated.”

“Pets do not have to be euthanized, but it’s important to follow the guidelines to prevent spreading the infection, including spaying or neutering, and isolation from other dogs,” said Averill in a media release

State officials say Canine Brucellosis is transmissible to humans through exposure to bodily fluids.

They are encouraging anyone who suspects their dog is infected to get the animal tested.

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Quick tips for pet owners:

• Every dog owner planning a litter needs to make sure their dogs, and any dogs they are planning to use in a breeding program, do not have brucellosis.
• Breeding kennels should be on a brucellosis surveillance program to help assure they are not selling brucellosis infected puppies, or infected adult dogs to the public.
• Anyone purchasing a puppy from a breeder should ask to see negative test results from the dogs that produced the litter of puppies.
• Anyone acquiring a dog from a pet shop or an animal shelter should ask their veterinarian about screening tests for canine brucellosis.
• Ask your veterinarians to test for brucellosis with any newly acquired breeding dogs, those with a history of reproductive problems, or any canines with certain eye and spinal disorders.

The Montcalm County case involves an occasional dog breeder with six dogs, including Boston terriers, pugs, and French bulldogs. The Mackinac County case involves dogs brought to the state in 2011. The Calhoun County case involves a dog breeder with 14 breeding dogs.

People with brucellosis may experience “flu-like” symptoms including fever, chills, body aches, headaches and sweating. They may also develop more serious, prolonged conditions, officials said.

For more information on canine brucellosis, including what to look out for, visit this link.

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