"We are in the process of notifying the individuals who have custody of the exposed dogs", read a statement from Keely Coppess, a spokesperson for the state's Agriculture Department. Officials said they're contacting those who own the exposed dogs and noted that "both the animals and facilities are quarantined while the dogs undergo clinical testing".
In dogs, signs of the disease include infertility, spontaneous abortions and stillbirths.
Dealing with fever, night sweats, headaches, back pain, and other flu-like symptoms?
Interestingly, the threat to dog owners is considered to be low.
While the 32 dogs in Heinz's care initially tested negative and haven't shown symptoms, she suspects the breeder may have given them antibiotics before the auction.
"That's why if we do have a positive dog, it has to be put down", Amy Heinz, founder and executive director of Iowa-based AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport, said in an interview. While the disease primarily affects dogs, it can also be transmitted to humans. The Department of Public Health states that the bacteria spreads when there is a direct contact of the infected material with the eyes, nose mouth or broken skin of the dog.
"Our goal is to get the dogs out of that lifestyle so that they don't have to continue to be bred over and over again until they die. Therefore, we have closed our shelter building for the next 30 days", the adoption service wrote in a Facebook post.
The researchers caution that all dogs need to be mandatorily screened and tested for the infection before they are imported or cleared for interstate travel. "They are quarantined at this point". They point out that available treatments for this infection do not lead to complete cure and there is a risk of recurrence or "recrudescence" of the infection in the animal.