Woman becomes first person in the UK to contract incurable dog disease

Wendy Hayes, 61, had four dogs of her own when she decided to look after pregnant rescue dog Moosha.

“I had Moosha for three days,” said Wendy. “She came on March 20, 2022… she started aborting her puppies, which was pretty horrific.”

Wendy elaborated: “She was literally walking around the house dropping her puppies. There was blood all over the house.

“I managed to get a hold of two of them. Tried to bring them round, but they were dead.”

Wendy believes this is when she contracted the disease, Brucella canis, which made her feel ill.

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Stoke-on-Trent Live reported that Wendy is the first human in the UK to have caught Brucella canis; since then, two more people have been infected.

The grandmother experienced a high temperature, chills, severe headaches and backache, and low blood pressure.

“I went into hospital on the May 23, 2022,” Wendy told Stoke-On-Trent Live.

“I went to my GP because I felt quite poorly and he sent me straight up to the hospital that day.”

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Already immunocompromised, Wendy was taken to the infectious disease ward at Stoke Hospital.

“They had a very clued-up doctor, who suggested it was Brucella canis,” said Wendy.

Brucella canis, the VCA Animal Hospital says, is a highly contagious infection in dogs that leads to infertility.

In male dogs, the bacterial infection can lead to an enlarged scrotum and a rash.

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In female dogs, the infection can lead to difficulty falling pregnant or the dog may abort in late stages of pregnancy.

The VCA adds: “After a female dog aborts a pregnancy because of brucellosis, she will continue to discharge fluids infected with the bacteria for four to six weeks after the abortion.”

Moreover, “no treatment is effective at eliminating the bacteria”.

Heartbreakingly, Moosha had to be put down, and so did Wendy’s other dogs.

“All five dogs were put down,” Wendy said of Jack Russell Benson, 13, Patterdale Cross Dougie, 11, pug Tiny, four, and an unknown breed named Max, nine.

Wendy shared: “They were the innocent party in this. The impact is devastating.”

When Wendy returned home, on June 2, from the hospital after being given antibiotics, she said: “The life went out of the house.”

“It didn’t feel like home,” Wendy added. “There was no real choice, there was no real quality of life for them. It’s heartbreaking to have one dog put down, let alone do it [four] times over. How do you get over that?”

A multi-agency cross-government group, Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS), states that the risk of Brucella canis in humans is “very low”.

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