May 16, 2019 9:35 am
Updated: May 16, 2019 9:36 am

Rescue dogs from other countries can carry disease, B.C. doctor warns

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A public health doctor in British Columbia says the transmission of infectious diseases from imported dogs to humans is an emerging problem and both physicians and patients should beware of symptoms.

Doctor Elani Galanis says a woman who had fever, headaches and weight loss for two months was diagnosed through a blood test as having an infectious disease called brucellosis caught from a dog she’d rescued in Mexico.

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Galanis says the case was surprising because the patient was previously healthy and the infection is usually only passed on to people with weakened immune systems, or the very young or elderly.

Veterinarian Rob Ashburner, a spokesman for the B.C. branch of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, says there’s an increased risk of various diseases and parasites from more and more dogs coming in from other countries.

He says the association has been working for years to try and get the federal government to enact stronger regulations for imported dogs because certificates presented to Canadian officials at borders are sometimes bogus and animal inspections are not comprehensive.

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The Public Health Agency of Canada says it acknowledges the transmission of diseases from animals including dogs is an important issue and it plans to work with the national veterinarians’ group and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which establishes requirements for animals coming into the country.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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