Keely Coppess, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says four of the dogs are confirmed infected with the disease - which can be transmitted to people - and a fifth dog is suspected to be sick.
The department is notifying those who have custody of the exposed dogs.
Brucellosis is a zoonotic disease humans can contract "when they are in contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria", according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The department says the threat to most pet owners is very low.
Those who have recently acquired a new, small-breed dog from Marion County is encouraged to contact their veterinarian. "Some of the tests go negative once treated, so you look like you're getting a good dog, but it's chronically infected".
In dogs, the disease causes reproductive issues, such as abortions, infertility, or stillbirths. "Other signs can include inflammation of lymph nodes, behavioral abnormalities, lethargy, and weight loss". "The disease can also return and may become chronic".
Despite the ability of the disease to infect both dogs and people, the symptoms it produces differ dramatically between canines and humans. "Arthritis (joint pain) and re-occurring fevers may occur with long term infection. We have asked that all of those dogs undergo canine brucellosis testing".
Protective clothing such as gloves and masks should be worn when assisting with the delivery of newborn puppies or handling reproductive tissues and hands should always be washed properly afterwards.
CNN reported that AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, Inc. has quarantined 32 dogs it had purchased at an auction while testing them for the disease.
Heinz said they had to quarantine their adoption building for an additional 30 days.
"This is just one more reason to ADOPT and not SHOP!"
"Persons with a weakened immune system due to disease or medication, young children, and pregnant women are likely at greater risk of developing more severe symptoms if they are exposed", the Department said in a notice.
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