Iowa State Veterinarian confirmed "multiple" cases of canine brucellosis, a disease that can be transmitted from infected dogs to humans and other animals.
The disease originated from a small dog's commercial breeding opportunity in Marion County, the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship stated in a statement.
The animals and the plant are quarantined as dogs undergo testing, the department said.
Although the threat to animal owners is low, "dog breeders, veterinary staff and anyone else who comes in contact with blood, tissues and fluids during the birth process may be at higher risk and should consult their primary physician," said the department.
"If pet owners have recently acquired a new small dog from Marion Co., you should contact their vet," said the department.
An Iowa State University Fact Sheet on the disease recommends protective clothing, including gloves and masks, to anyone who handles egg tissue and helps deliver newborn puppies and says "always wash your hands after touching animals."
Human infection from the disease is rare, says the university. It requires close contact with infected dogs. Infections cause flu-like symptoms – including fever and back pain – as well as joint pain. Rarely does the university say that cases can involve the nervous system, the eyes or the heart.
AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, Inc., an animal protection organization in De Soto, Iowa, has quarantined 32 dogs bought at auction by a breeder while undergoing testing.
"We haven't received any results yet," said the organization on Facebook. "That's why we closed our house building for the next 30 days."
"This is just a reason for ADOPT and not SHOP! Please pray for our sweet babies who finally got the chance to have a good life."