Foreign Rescue Dogs – What Should We Be Testing For?
Join Veterinary Parasitologist Ian Wright MRCVS and I as we discuss what we should be testing dogs brought into the country as rescues and what we should do about any positive results we get.
Ian is knowledgable, incredibly passionate and shared a huge amount of information! If you are a veterinary professional, a rescue organisation importing dogs or a pet owner considering adopting a foreign dog, you will find this fascinating!
We cover; Brucellosis – This bacterial disease is a growing concern for vets and rescuers alike. It can transfer to people and potentially cause extremely serious disease. We really need to be testing dogs for this before they are imported and positive ones should remain being cared for in their original country.
Leishmania – This is mainly a concern for dogs from Mediterranean countries but is being increasingly diagnosed across Europe. Infected dogs can live happy lives but even if they are symptom free when they are adopted, most will relapse during their lives and many will pass away from kidney failure triggered by the Leishmania. It is vital leish positive dogs are blood and urine tested regularly and that their new families are on board with it being an on-going condition
Ehrlichia – this is a tick borne parasite and it is very important to know if a dog is positive because this means their new owners and vet are aware in case they have a flare-up of symptoms.
Heartworm – this is also common in imported rescue dogs because living on the streets means they haven’t been protected against this parasite. If they are positive for the adult worm antigen, they will need a prolonged and careful treatment regime while the worms are cleared. However, this treatment can be carried out in their new homes, provided their new family is onboard with the requirements.
Ticks – it is VITAL that rescue dogs are not only treated for ticks but also checked very carefully on arrival and treated again within a month of arriving. Some foreign ticks can carry nasty diseases and are very challenging to completely clear.
Worms – there are various types of worms that foreign dogs can carry that we don’t have in the UK. The most important of which is the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis because it can cause really horrible disease in people. Some of the others do respond to the standard tapeworm treatment but some do not. It is very important that any rescue charity completes a comprehensive worming program both before and after the dog arrives in the UK.
Ian is the head of ESCCAP, the European Scientific Council of Companion Animal Parasites, the independent organisation that creates guidelines as to how we should protect our pets against parasites. You can find out more about them and read their guidelines here; https://www.esccap.org/