The hid­den risks of im­ported dogs

Linda Si­mon ad­vises wouldbe own­ers only to use rep­utable cen­tres . . .

The People's Friend - - This Week -

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. ■

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