DE SOTO, Iowa -- AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport is under quarantine for another 60 days following the last round of testing for canine brucellosis.
After testing 71 dogs total, the 40 in the back of the main shelter not related to the puppy mill dispersal sale tested negative and were released from quarantine, which means they can now be adopted and staff can continue to work with them as normal.
But the puppy mill dogs are still not in the clear. Three of the dogs were considered "suspect positive" on the first test and negative on the confirmatory test.
Here is some clarification from Amy Heinz about those three dogs:
"I think the confusion is we have three dogs now in a special quarantine area because they tested positive on the Iowa State screening test but negative on the confirmatory test. They all three also tested negative on both tests at Cornell University. However, the Iowa Department of agriculture is still considering them to be suspect positive and therefore must be separated from the rest. King Ralph, Minnie and Rocky ridges can no longer leave their kennels and go outside even to the garage. So we emptied the cat room and now they have big wonderful spaces to spend the next 60 days in."
A dog named Frankie, who tested negative before, suddenly tested positive for the disease and AHeinz57 Pet Rescue CEO Amy Heinz said they chose to euthanize him to prevent anything further from happening.
“It would be cruel to lock Frankie in a room by himself for the rest of his life. I mean, it would just be cruel,” Heinz said.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture said they also consider another dog named Zane to now be positive after several conflicting tests.
With the quarantine extended for another 60 days, they decided to make some changes and take down the outdoor potty area they were using to let those particular dogs out.
“We chose to tear it down and we’ve made long kennel runs in our garage so they can get some exercise, which is nice. We can have the doors open and they can have more space to run around anyway. Each kennel run inside there is assigned to specific dogs. Boys can only go certain kennels. Girls can only go on certain kennels,” Heinz said.
Heinz said she is worried other dogs from the sale in other places may be like Frankie and also test positive.
“If they were quarantined for the 60 days and tested negative and they were released, those dogs are out there and they could be just like Frankie,” Heinz said.
Heinz said the information she’s been receiving from the Iowa Department of Agriculture has been changing all the time.
"Friday changed within three hours. Our vet was told at 3 o'clock that the disease can stay dormant for four months in the prostate, but by 6 o'clock it was a different story. It was 'no, we are now considering Zane positive, and he probably got it from Zane,'" Heinz said.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture officials said in a statement as of right now, “11 of the 200 dogs connected to the dispersal sale on May 4 have tested positive for Canine Brucellosis. Fourteen locations in Iowa, including a commercial breeder, rescues and shelters, remain quarantined.”
The Department of Agriculture also sent another statement to Channel 13:
"The Department has applied the same quarantine protocol to all 56 facilities in Iowa that took possession of one of the 185 dogs that originated from Double G Kennels. Each facility was quarantined for at least 60 days following the auction on May 4; this included Double G Kennels, commercial breeders, rescues and foster homes. The dogs from the auction on May 4 that had two negative screening and confirmatory test results at least 60 days from their last potential exposure have been released from quarantine. Zane was the first dog at AHeinz57 to test suspect in July, about 60-days post exposure, and Frankie tested positive last week, which is why a portion of AHeinz57 remains quarantined."
Canine Brucellosis can be spread by direct or indirect contact. It can be transmitted through birth products, vaginal discharge, milk, semen, urine, saliva, nasal and eye secretions, and feces, according to the Iowa State University Center for Food Security and Public Health (http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Factsheets/pdfs/brucellosis_canis.pdf). Caretakers can also unintentionally spread the disease from dog-to-dog through bacteria on their clothing, skin, hands or shoes.
Because Zane is positive on the Slide Agglutination test and another sale dog tested positive on the Slide Agglutination and AGID II test, Zane is also considered positive.
Just like humans can be exposed to a disease without contracting it, so can dogs. Most dogs can be positively detected within 60 days of infection.