Dog rescue is a very important and admirable cause. However, it’s usually a very strict practice. It’s absolutely essential that animals imported into North America are screened and tested for any potential diseases. Recently, this screening process has found a potentially dangerous new strain of disease in an imported puppy. That disease was distemper virus. It’s common in Asia but extremely rare in North America. If contagious viruses like distemper is passed to unvaccinated pets, this can create a serious problem.
Whether you try to rescue a street dog from a foreign country or even from the same state, there are a lot of things you need to be aware of. Fortunately, wildlife removal services in Milwaukee are accustomed to handling animals with distemper, and have some important information to pass on.
What is Distemper Disease?
Until recently, the Asia-1 strain of Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) had never been reported in North America. Said puppy, supposedly rescued from a meat farm in Korea, arrived in Canada and quickly became unwell. Tests in quarantine confirmed that it was carrying the virus strain.
Symptoms of CDV include a lot of coughing, sneezing, and mucus appearing around the nose and eyes. This is the virus attacking the respiratory system. Fever, noticeable lethargy and eventually vomiting are also signs of the infection.
CDV can spread very quickly. It’s a highly contagious disease which infects the respiratory system and the nervous system. Thankfully, most puppies are immunized against the disease. However, if the disease were to come in to contact with local wildlife, the results could be devastating. Once a new disease begins to spread through wild animals, it’s almost impossible to remove it completely.
CDV in Rescue Dogs
It’s not surprising that rescue dogs are the dogs most at risk of CDV. This is because rescue dogs are the least likely to have been vaccinated. Most rescue dogs don’t even have a known vaccination history. CDV diagnosis isn’t straightforward and there is currently no known cure for the disease.
Rescue organizations often have the best intentions when they save and import animals around the world. Unfortunately, when infected animals are moved, their disease is too. Sometimes rescue animals are imported via some of the more lax border controls points. As a result, they could be transferring harmful new infections into the country.
Some advocacy groups are diligent in testing and immunizing rescue dogs in their native country. Sadly, some groups aren’t quite as strict, and this is how the disease can be accidentally introduced.
Some Rescue Dog Advice
No matter how determined you are to bring your new four-legged friend home with you, it isn’t a wise move. In fact, some veterinary associations are even calling on governments to make it illegal to import dogs from certain countries.
You’re strongly advised not to buy dogs from abroad on the internet. These companies tend to find the most relaxed border control points. Not only is there a good chance your new purchase will be arriving without a vaccination history, but it could also arrive already infected.
Instead, why not rescue a dog in your local area? There’s guaranteed to be nearby charities looking to re-home abandoned and rescued dogs. These companies will normally have done an excellent job in vaccinating the dog.
Many of them are likely to still be puppies and they’ll have a full vaccination history. No nasty surprises means no visits to the vet and no eye-watering bills. Instead of risking the introduction of a deadly new disease, it makes a lot more sense to visit your local animal shelter and consider your options there.