Meopham Veterinary Hospital, Sevenoaks, Swanscombe & Tonbridge Surgeries

Brucellosis Practice Protocol – Updated April 2023.

If you have recently acquired a new pet, imported from abroad, and wish to register them as a patient of one of our branches, listed above, then you must agree to the terms & conditions within this document before we can register them as a patient of ours.

Canine brucellosis is a contagious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium, Brucella canis (B. canis). This bacterial infection is highly contagious between dogs.  It is a zoonotic disease which means it is an infectious disease that is transmitted between species from animals to humans.

A significant rise in reported cases occurred between July 2020 and January 2021, mainly due to the increasing number of dogs imported from Eastern Europe, which led Public Health England to publish a risk statement in February 2021.  Due to the Zoonotic risks it poses to our staff this has resulted in us carrying out a risk assessment and implementing stricter measures, these policies are echoed by many of the UK veterinary referral centres and more & more first opinion practices across the UK.

The advice sheet below has been produced by the APHA, this details the clinical signs, route of transmission & how to manage infected dogs.

It also indicates that Brucellosis is, by law,  a reportable disease

APHA Canine Brucellosis Summary Sheet

For your information, this policy is relevant if your pet has been imported from any of the countries listed below:

Eastern European Countries:

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine.

Other Countries:

Canada, USA.

Additional Continents:

Asia & Africa

If your pet has been imported from one of the above countries then we will need you to agree to the terms outlined within this policy in order for us to accept them as a patient of ours.  Failure to agree to these terms will mean you will need to register for this pet’s veterinary services elsewhere.

This policy has been created solely for the health & safety of our staff & colleagues and we hope you understand that this has to be our priority.  Those at highest risk of developing clinical signs are children, immunocompromised people & those that are pregnant.  It is unsure how Brucella will affect pregnancies, however adverse pregnancy outcomes are possible.

We would strongly recommend all animals arriving in the UK from abroad, particularly if imported from one of the countries named above, are not walked in public areas & are restricted to your own garden only until they have a negative Brucellosis test, waiting at least 3 months until after the animal’s arrival into the UK.

Unfortunately a negative Brucellosis test can be a false negative, therefore it is not until 3 months after the animal has arrived in the UK that we can trust a negative to be a true negative.  This is to ensure any incubation of disease when leaving the country has had the opportunity to develop, antibodies are produced 2-12 weeks post infection.

Terms & conditions

  • Upon registration, if your pet has been in the country for less than 3 months, we will schedule them in for a Brucellosis blood test at a branch of your choice.  You will wait outside, with your pet in the car, until you are called in for your appointment.  Our staff members will wear the appropriate PPE when handling your pet, this will include gloves, overalls & a visor.  The blood sample will be sent away to a lab for testing for Brucella.  The external laboratory we use for this is the APHA.
  • The fee for this blood test is £109.80
  • As soon as the results are back then they will be reported via telephone to you.
  • As noted above, if the result is negative we will schedule your pet in for a second test 3months later. The cost for this additional test is £57.15.
  • The only exception to this is if your animal has already been in the UK for 3 months, then only 1 x test is required at the initial cost.
  • We are only able to offer emergency treatment for your pet until such time that they have been in the UK for more than 3 months AND have a negative brucellosis blood serum test after 3 months of being in the UK. If your pet presents for treatment before this time then our staff will wear full PPE.  We will not perform any routine or elective procedures within this initial period.
  • If you do not agree to the terms within this letter then we will not be able to register your pet with our veterinary services and would advise you register elsewhere.


Policy for imported dogs currently registered with us & imported to the UK since July 2020.

If you have a pet already registered with us that was imported from one of the countries named above, and has arrived in the UK since July 2020 then you will be required to book in for a Brucellosis blood test, at a cost of £109.80 in order to remain registered with us.

Animals can carry Brucellosis and remain asymptomatic, therefore we have made the decision to request compulsory testing of all dogs imported since the rise in reported cases in July 2020.

We have carried out a risk assessment for our staff following Public Health England’s risk statement and recent publications in the veterinary press over concerns that Brucellosis cases have been growing in the UK and the scale of the threat posed by it being a zoonotic disease.

Dozens of cases of B canis were reported in the UK in 2022 – including the UK’s first known example of dog-to-human transmission – which has prompted calls for compulsory testing of all imported dogs.  Defra confirmed in January that a new review of its potential risks is under way.

To confirm, if the dog has already been in the UK for more than 3 months then only one Brucellosis test will be required.

Results will be reported to you via telephone and if the test is negative, no further tests will be required.