Brucellosis

Veterinary advice should be sought before applying any treatment or vaccine.

Brucellosis

Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonotic disease that occasionally affects horses and donkeys however predominately affects cattle, sheep, goats, bison, deer, buffalos, elks, pigs, and dogs. Humans are also at risk of brucellosis. Brucellosis is caused by the bacterium Brucella, primarily B. abortus and B. suis. The disease is characterized by recurrent abortion and infertility. However, in horses it frequently manifests as Fistulous withers and Poll evil. A survey conducted on 85 horses with fistulous withers revealed that B. abortus was isolated from 80% of the affected horses. Of those horses with B. abortus infection, 92% had reported contact with cattle.

Transmission
Brucella species are transmitted by ingestion, inhalation, or direct contact through skin abrasions or mucous membranes. Most horses acquire the infection from contact with cattle.

Symptoms

Mild fever
Abortions
Infertility
Stiffness
Lethargy
Fistulous withers

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Serological testing - detection of antibodies

Treatment


TreatmentDetails
Antibiotics
Supportive care

Prevention

  • Do not keep cattle and horses together in the same or adjacent pastures.
  • Keeping horses in pastures with a history of use for cattle.

Scientific Research References

Good Overviews

Risk Factors

  • Horses in contact with cattle
  • Housing horses in pastures that were previously used for cattle.

Causative agent