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Grooming the Pregnant Bitch and Canine Brucellosis

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  • Grooming the Pregnant Bitch and Canine Brucellosis

    This topic came up on another board, and I thought it would make a good topic of discussion here.

    I have always been very reticent to groom pregnant bitches. Canine Brucellosis is one of the reason. For those who may not be familiar with Brucellosis, it is a disease of the reproductive organs, and causes spontaneous abortion and possible birth defects if any puppies survive. Puppies born alive often die within a few days. The disease also leads to sterility in both dogs and bitches.

    Brucellosis can be treated by long term use of antibiotics, but infected dogs still remain carriers, and should be spayed or neutered. They should also be kept seperated from breeding animals, lest they infect them.

    Brucellosis is spread by sexual contact, oronasal contact with infected body fluids, contact with aborted fetuses and membranes/fluids, and in kennel situations, can be airborne. It also can infect mother's milk. Dogs have also been known to pick up other strains of brucellosis from livestock.

    Canine brucellosis is also contagious to humans. The most common mode of contact is exposure to aborted fetuses, membranes and fluids. Symptoms in humans are flu like.

    What makes the disease so insidious is that there are often no symptoms or vague symptoms in dogs. That's why it is so desprately important that breeding animals be tested. The test is a simple blood test, and is relatively inexpensive.

    Now, why does that make me hesitant to groom pregnant bitches? Because I don't know if they're infected or not. If they are, they could potentially spread the disease to other dogs. If they are not infected, they could become infected if another dog (or dog fluids) they might come in contact with is infected, thus causing them to lose the litter, or give birth to infected puppies. We try our best to keep things sanitary, but you can't always control who pees on the front steps, and who sniffs or licks it.

    If a pregnant bitch is infected, it's also possible to spread the disease to me! And I know far too many people who, intentionally or not, allow their bitches to breed without having been tested for brucellosis. And without the male being tested, either.

    Just something to be aware of, and think about.

  • #2
    Wow, great information, I never knew something like that existed!

    I've never done a pregnant bitch just because of the chances of stress affecting the bitch in a negative way always scared me but now theres another reason to be worried!


    • #3
      Never thought about all that. Thanks Helly. Just one more thing I know now to be cautious of.
      If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!


      • #4
        Bang's disease. An old friend picked it up vetting dairy cattle herds before the cattle vaccine came out. He said it was no fun at all.

        However, the brucellosis argument could be used against grooming any intact dog. Dunno if we want to go there...I sure don't.


        • #5
          As a breeder as well as a groomer I know how terrible this is. I studded out one of my males and required the Bitches Owner to have tests. The lady was kind of surprised that I even put it in the contract. All of mine have been tested. I would be furious if a Bitch passed this on to one of my males. I also will not groom a pregnant Bitch
          "Whoever Said That Money Can't Buy Happiness Forgot About Puppies"


          • #6
            Interesting... and informative as always. Thanks, Helly!


            • #7
              Originally posted by katydid View Post
              Bang's disease. An old friend picked it up vetting dairy cattle herds before the cattle vaccine came out. He said it was no fun at all.

              However, the brucellosis argument could be used against grooming any intact dog. Dunno if we want to go there...I sure don't.
              Well, technically, it isn't just intact dogs. Infected dogs who have been neutered/spayed are still carriers, even after they've been treated.

              My biggest concern, I guess, is infecting a bitch who is pregnant. I don't want to be held in anyway responsible for that, even though the chances are slight. And any pregnant bitch has the potential for having been exposed during mating, considering how many people don't know about brucellosis, much less test for it.

              Here's an interesting tidbit. The state of Illinois now requires brucellosis testing for any dog used for breeding. Wonder how the BYBs and puppy millers are going to get around that one.


              • #8
                What's everyone's policy then about grooming bitches in heat? Just curious.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by pamperedpups View Post
                  What's everyone's policy then about grooming bitches in heat? Just curious.
                  I don't. It drives the boys nuts. And I'm not sticking my hand up there when they're dripping blood and having the next male I do trying to hump my arm. I'm not putting my clippers anywhere near there when they're dripping blood and then having the males try to hump my clippers. They're too squirrley; flagging and spinning and acting like fools.

                  Nope. They can wait a few weeks.


                  • #10
                    (just passing through)


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the great info Helly. It never fails that I learn something new from you every day


                      • #12
                        Canine Brucellosis

                        I've read that Canine Brucellosis can be spread through the urine and feces of infected dogs as well. Of course any dog could possibly be infected with Canine Brucellosis disease. That is one reason to do your best to keep your grooming salon spotless and to follow set sanitary procedures. Not a problem for me, because I am a sanitation nut. I plan to not accept pregnant bitches to avoid any question about liability.


                        • #13
                          I will groom bitches in heat, but I am not crazy about it. I just make sure to wash and disinfect everything she has touched and make sure there are no intact boys anywhere near her!
                          SheilaB from SC


                          • #14
                            Puppies soon

                            I'm mobile and have 2 cocker spaniels that are regulars. The bitch is due to have puppies within a couple days of the grooming appointment. I was thinking of just doing a bath, through sanitary, nails and paw pads. It's an English type cocker without a lot of coat. I never did a dog so close to the due date. Do you think it could cause any problems?


                            • #15
                              just a question. could a pregnant dog pick it up in a mobile environment if it is disinfected between grooms. also what would the symptoms be if it were to be passed from dog to person. i won't groom pregnant females either, more because of stress. bitches in heat aren't a problem as long as the owner tells me. nothing like finding blood on your hands and not realizing it was a bitch in heat. happened to me as a newbie.
                              Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
                              "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887