Q fever is a highly infectious disease that is caused by an organism called Coxiella burnetii, a pathogenic organism that is structuraly similar to Rickettsia bacteria but genetically different.
The name Q fever comes from the word "query," reflecting the unknown etiology of the disease when it was first recognized in Queensland, Australia in 1935.
Coxiella burnetii organism is highly infectious and very hardy – it can survive in dust or soil for a year or more, and can travel in dust for long distances in the wind. Infection from coxiella burnetti can occur by inhalation, ingestion of infected tissue or fluid or tick bites. After being infected, the organism affects the urinary tract, liver and nervous system. Despite affecting various body systems, Q fever does not often cause noticeable illness but has been implicated in abortion. Q fever is considered a zoonotic disease and can be transmitted from dogs to people, especially during delivery of puppies.
Care must be taken when dealing with bodily fluids, organs, and/or tissue material of any animal, particularly farm animals. Disposing of all birth remains properly and feeding the pet pasteurized products only will help avoid contraction of disease to pet owners.
Once a dog becomes infected, following signs may be noticeable.
Miscarriage (not common in dogs)
Often, the organism remains inactive in the host body but during the birthing process, the organism may reactivate, resulting in a large number of organisms entering placenta and host's bodily fluids, urine, feces and milk.