The hidden risks of imported dogs
Linda Simon advises wouldbe owners only to use reputable centres . . .
IN the past few years there have been lots of dogs brought to the UK after being rescued from other countries where they were in a bad way.
Kind-hearted animal lovers have discovered these dogs on websites and Facebook groups. They have been so affected by their stories that they have opened their homes and their hearts to them, spending time and money bringing them to a loving home in the UK where they can be well-cared for.
The often tragic background and pictures of skinny and unwell dogs tug on the heart strings and can be impossible to ignore. Leaving these animals behind in such poor conditions seems unthinkable.
While offering these dogs a new beginning is a generous and noble act, we should consider the real risks they can pose to our UK pet population.
Here in the UK, we do not have diseases such as heartworm and Leishmaniasis. We are also fortunate enough to have completely eradicated rabies, the deadly virus that is currently present on mainland Europe and in other continents.
The worrying thing is that some of these diseases do not cause symptoms in the early stages, and it can take months for animals to become unwell and receive a diagnosis once in their new home.
With the right information and resources, we can decrease the chances of importing a new disease. By adopting these animals from reputable rescue centres that use the Pets Travel Scheme, and have mandatory pre-travel screening tests and veterinary checks, we can keep our UK canine population safe.
Acting as a guardian angel to these neglected dogs is a gift unlike any other, so keeping informed on how to import them safely is crucial. ■