Traveling with or Adopting Dogs from other Regions
Dogs that come from different regions whether from other areas of Canada, the United States or abroad have the possibility of carrying
disease not endemic (local) to Alberta. Some of these diseases affect individual animals and are not considered contagious but others do
carry the possibility of being transmitted within the dog population. Although uncommon certain diseases can also be transmitted to
humans. The goal of this information is to provide guidance on the importance of discussing travel history and the origin of your pets with your
veterinary practitioner in hopes of mitigating potential disease risks to individual animals, the local animal population, and humans.
Potential diseases: Occurrence of diseases in a specific location depends on many factors including local climate and the presence of vectors (ie. ticks, fleas,
mosquitoes) which can spread disease. Proper health care including preventive health care such as vaccinations, tick prevention or heartworm preventative medications can influence diseases dogs harbor.
Examples of diseases in dogs diagnosed in Alberta, not considered to be acquired locally, include heartworm which is transmitted by mosquitoes, and tick borne diseases such as Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis. These are not diseases transmitted between dogs but do carry risks to individual pets if not diagnosed and treated. Recently, several dogs from the Southern US or Mexico region have tested positive for Brucella canis in Calgary. The true prevalence of this disease in the local pet population is unknown but is thought to be low. Brucella canis is a bacterium that not only poses health risk for the individual dog, but it may be passed to other dogs and possibly to in- contact humans. The risk to humans is felt to be low. Each animal’s disease risk depends on where they are being adopted from as well as the other factors discussed above. Discussions should take place between your family and your veterinarian to determine what tests should be performed to ensure health of your pet, the dog population and the public. If your pet tests positive for diseases that can be transmitted to humans or within the dog population, appropriate preventive measures need to be taken. Examples would include informing humans of possible exposure to an infectious disease and talking with your veterinarian on how to reduce risks. If you develop symptoms of illness, you should contact your family physician and advise them of your pet’s disease to help guide your diagnosis and treatment. In addition if diseases are diagnosed that can be transmitted to the dog population discussions should take place with your veterinarian to limit spread in the pet population.
How to reduce disease risks: If you have obtained a dog from abroad, ask about and obtain information about any testing, quarantine, and veterinary care that the animal has received. This information should be discussed with your family veterinarian to determine safety of adopting an animal, as well as any further tests and care that may be required.
If traveling with your pet please contact your veterinarian to discuss risks in the areas you will be traveling, before you leave.
For further information, please contact your family veterinarian 780-352-7006.