Canine Diseases from Abroad by Dr Virginia Richardson
In the last few years, it has become much
easier to travel abroad with your dogs, and there has also been a steep rise in
the number of dogs coming from abroad. These may be dogs being imported to
expand the gene pool of certain breeds in this country, they may be from rescue
centres (especially from Eastern Europe) or it may be puppies coming from Europe
for sale in this country. Most of us will know someone who has travelled abroad
with their dog, or someone who has rescued a dog from abroad. Some of these
dogs may be attending your training classes. This freedom of travel means we are
now seeing porcsites and diseases in dogs in this country that were only
previously recognised abroad.
In 2015 over 164 thousand
dogs were recorded entering the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme. Excluding those
travelling on holiday, a total of 65,000 dogs were imported from 128 different
countries. This level of pet movement has increased the risk of novel pcrosites
and novel parasite- borne diseases entering the UK. As the climate in the UK
becomes more temperate there is a potential for some of these pcrcsites to
survive and potentially harbour diseases previously only considered to exist
Ticks The biggest
threat comes from exotic ticks that travel into this country on dogs from abroad.
Unfortunately since January 2015 it is no longer mandatory on the Pet Travel Scheme
to treat your pets with a tick product before entering the UK, and higher numbers
of exotic ticks are now being identified in this country. The tick Dermacentor
reticulatus is responsible for carrying the parasite Babesia canis canis
in its saliva. This porcslte causes the disease babesiosis, which is endemic
in Northern Spain, Portugal and Italy - all popular holiday destinations.There
are now endemic foci in Essex and Wales, and in 2016 four dogs were identified
with bcbesiosis, none of whom had travelled, and one case was fatal. The tick
needs to attach for 48-72 hours before the parasite is spread in the saliva, and
this is one of the main reasons it is important to check your dogs for ticks on
a daily basis, as well as using a product that repels and kills the ticks.
linical signs associated with babesiosis are fever, anaemia, collapse, and an inflammatory
response that can lead to multi-organ failure.
Ehrlichiosis is a
serious parasitic infection transmitted by ticks in warm and tropical areas, mainly
America, Asia, Southern Europe and also Finland. Like babesia the parasite
enters the blood stream via tick saliva, but once in the body it can hide away
from the doq's immune system for a long period of time. The most serious form of
the disease has a long course of many months to years, and often the connection
is not initially made between the disease and the fact that the dog has
previously been abroad. Clinical signs are variable - a lack of energy, fever, reduced
appetite, prolonged bleeding, also vomiting, lameness, breathing problems and a
lack of co-ordination.
another potentially fatal disease that can also affect humans. It is endemicin countries
around the Mediterranean - France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey and
the Middle East. It is spread by sandflies, and although the san fly has not
yet been identified in the UK, leishmaniosis is not uncommon in the UK due to
the number of dogs that have travelled to these areas.Symptoms may develop
weeks or years after a bite from an infected sandfly, and include skin lesions
(hair loss on ear tips, scaly dry skin), lameness, lethargy, poor appetite, nose
bleeds, tongue and mouth ulcers.
Vasorum) originally came over from France, but is now well established in
most areas of the UK. The worm larvae are present in slugs and snails.
If a dog eats the slug
or snail they become infected and then the adult worms migrate into the heart blood
vessels and lungs. As well as causing coughing they can cause a bleeding disorder,
and occasionally the first sign will be excessive bleeding after routine surgery.
Not all dog wormers, especially those that can be purchased without prescription
will be effective against lungworm.
Tongue worm (Linguatula
serrata) is the newest parasite to be aware of from abroad. So called because
it is tongue- shaped, it has been identified in dogs imported from abroad, particularly
Romania. The worm lives in the nasal passages of dogs, and may cause sneezing,
coughing a nasal discharge and nose bleeds.
Take home messages
If you intend to go abroad, please protect your
dog with effective tick and sandfly products.
Check your dog for ticks every day and remove
them with a tick hook. Ticks removed in the first
24 hours will not have had time to spread disease.
Do not kill the tick first with spirit or Vaseline as it
will release a gluey secretion from its mouth parts
and make it more likely to break and leave its
Make sure the wormer you use is effective
If your dog is unwell remember to tell your vet if they
have ever travelled abroad or originated from abroad,
however many years ago that may have been.
Companion Dog Training by Di Morgan
A report published by the Pet Food
Manufacturers Association states that there are 8.5 million dogs in the UK and
that 37 % of people choose a dog as
their first pet. The majority acquire their dog at under one year old, 45% being purchased from a breeder and others
from a rescue or rehoming source.
In view of these statistics, it would be
reasonable to assume a large demand for dog training. However, the Dogs Trust
report' states that only 24 % of owners
take or intend to take their dogs to training classes. This may of course be a
factor in statistics showing that the most common age for relinquishing dogs is
seven months to three years and the most common reasons mostly relate to
aggression and other behavioural issues'.
Unfortunately, many owners think that one
course of puppy classes will set the dog up for life and don't recognise the
continuing need for socialisation and training.This is encouraged by
instructors who only offer training for 'puppies. Adolescent youngsters bring additional challenges and without
further training and support owners may struggle to maintain control.
Knowledgeable instructors will recognise
different stages of development and advise owners accordingly and by attending
further classes owners keep in the habit of training and maintain a positive
relationship with their dogs.
Some rehomed adult dogs may have behavioural
issues and instructors must be able to advise on everyday problems and prevent
more serious issues occurring. They will also be able to refer clients for
additional help when necessary.
These are reasons why the criteria for the
KCAI Scheme Companion Dog Training discipline requires instructors to teach the
full range of companion dog training levels from puppy/starter through to fully
mature adult. 'Basic' level training can give the impression that standards of
control and performance are low, but this is far from the truth - 'basic' refers
to a firm basis or foundation of training from which owner and dog can progress
into a more specialised activity. A good standard of foundation level training
is necessary for most dog sports and will aid progress if taught correctly. How
much easier will it be to start agility, for example, if a dog already pays
attention to its handler, is reliable off lead and has a good wait and prompt
It is disappointing that so many owners
dismiss training classes so readily.
How common is Lungworm & Alabama rot?
from the Kennel Club
is what we call an 'emerging' disease: it's gradually becoming more common. Until recently it only appeared in select 'hot
spots' in the south of the UK, but over the last few years, it's been
successfully identified in various parts of the country. It's unclear
exactly what's caused this spread (and that of other parasites,
including ticks), but increased movement of pets around the country, and
abroad, as well as greater contact between wildlife and the urban
environment are all thought to be very influential factors.
Not every snail or slug carries the disease and lungworm's
geographical limitations means infection is currently relatively
uncommon, but it does rear its head from time to time; and in extreme
cases, causes death of infected patients, so it is potentially extremely
Alabama rot, also known as CRGV (Cutaneous and Renal
Glomerular Vasculopathy), is a very rare potentially life-threatening diseasethat blocks and damages theblood vessels in a dogís skin and kidneys. Affecteddogs will often develop ulcers or sores on the bottom part of their legs and
will go on to develop kidney failure, which is often fatal. At the moment the
only way to confirm Alabama rot is by analysing tissue from the dogís kidney
after it has died.
What causes Alabama rot?
The cause of Alabama rot is not known and so unfortunately
diagnosing and treating an affected dog can be very difficult. Many of the dogs
that died from Alabama rot had been walking in muddy woodland areas during
winter and spring months, so itís thought that wet muddy conditions may somehow
be linked to the cause.
How common is Alabama rot?
Alabama rot is a well-publicised, but very rare disease that
is known to have affected around 150 dogs in the UK between November 2012 and
March 2018. Reports of Alabama rot seem to be on the increase, which may be
because more dogs are becoming affected, or that vets and owners are more aware
of the condition.
Where is Alabama rot found in the
When Alabama rot was first noticed, most of the cases
appeared to be around the New Forest area. Since then, affected dogs have been
found throughout the UK. There are no reported cases in East Anglia to date the
nearest being Stanstead
What are the signs of Alabama
sores or ulcers on the skin
ulcers usually appear on the legs or paws, but could appear anywhere on
the body, including the head, tummy, around the mouth and nose, or on the
tongue. These marks may appear as an area of redness or could look like a
cut, bruise, sting or open sore. These signs could be caused by a large
number of different things, but in a small number of cases this could be
the first signs of Alabama rot. Always speak to your vet if your dog
unexpectedly develops any of these signs.
off their food.
change in drinking.
weeing as much.
of kidney failure usually appears around three days after the marks on the
skin, but can appear more quickly, or may sometimes take up to ten days.
Signs that there are problems with the kidneys include:
If youíre concerned that your dog might have Alabama Rot
itís very important that you speak to your vet as soon as possible.