Melioidosis, an infectious disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei is an emerging disease with high impact on animals and man. In different animal species, the clinical course varies and delayed diagnosis poses risks for the dissemination of the agent in non-endemic areas. Not only migration and transport of animals around the world but also tourism increases the risk that melioidosis can leave its endemic boundaries and establish itself elsewhere. Detection of the agent is a major challenge, as the agent has to be handled in laboratories of biosafety level 3 and test kits are not yet commercially available. Veterinarians and doctors should be aware of melioidosis not only as an agent of public interest but also in terms of a bioterrorist attack. The aim of this review is to describe the agent, its aetiology, the manifestation in a variety of animal species as well as to describe diagnostic procedures, typing techniques and countermeasures.