Bringing in Pets from Abroad;
In these enlightened times a lot of us use Facebook, Twitter or some other social media websites, and you may have seen groups or articles about dogs and cats needing to come to England for a better life or to save them from euthanasia after a life on the streets. We can't help but be touched by their plight and (if we are in a position to do so) want to adopt.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with this sentiment we feel that we need to make owners aware of the risk and provide you with some information before going down this road.
Most of these animals have lived on the streets, had no vaccinations and are at risk of catching several, sometimes untreatable or incurable disease, which they might already have and could transmit to your pet at home, so - before embarking on any journey - should have had the following blood tests;
1) Leishmaniasis is caused by sand-fly bites and, if diagnosed, can affect many of the bodies organs. A special renal diet, regular blood tests and re-examination every two months will be required. There is no guarantee that your dog will not have a re-lapse and require more expensive treatment.
2) Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease and on-going treatment with blood tests and urine analysis is required. If you bring a dog into your household who carries the disease (and you have other dogs) then all the dogs will need to be monitored and blood tested every couple of months. Once monthly tick treatment with a brand that kills/repels the tick before it can bite will be needed to prevent the spread of disease in the UK.
3) Ehrlichia is another tick-borne disease and, although the disease can be treated with good results, it is never entirely eradicated and can return with severe complications. As before, regular blood tests need to be carried out and monthly tick treatment applied.
4) Dirofilariasis (Heart Worm). Although treatment may have eradicated the worms ensure there is no long term heart or lung disease or both.
All of the above will be at your own expense, as you can not insure your pet for conditions they already had before the policy came into force and would be excluded from the policy for the pets entire life.
Please also remember that there are a lot of unscrupulous people out there, who are making a lot of money out of these animals, and will say that all the tests have been carried out but, unless they can provide you with bona-fide paperwork from a vet, then please take care.
We are not saying that adopting from abroad is wrong but you need to be aware of the pitfalls that can occur because, we all fall in love at first site, and it is heart-breaking when they become ill and we do have many rescues in this country who are over-flowing with rescue animals who need your help.
If you are a regular traveller abroad and take your pet with you it would also be a good idea to read our tick article and - although it is not mandatory to provide tick/flea/sand fly treatment when travelling - it would be safer to protect your pet from a terrible disease that can be controlled with good results, although nothing is guaranteed.