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
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 abroad.
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
Spain, Portugal and Italy - all popular holiday
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
stream via tick saliva, but once in the body it can hide
away from the
system for a long period of time. The most serious form of the disease has a long course of many
connection is not initially made between the disease and the fact that the dog has previously been
signs are variable - a lack of energy, fever, reduced appetite, prolonged bleeding, also vomiting, lameness, breathing problems
and a lack of co-ordination.
Leishmaniosis is another potentially
fatal disease that can also affect humans.
It is endemicin countries around the Mediterranean - France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey andthe 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.
Lungworm (Angiostrongylus 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.
If you intend
to go abroad, please
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
the wormer you use is
If your dog is unwell remember
to tell your
vet if they
have ever travelled abroad or
originated from abroad,
years ago that may have been.
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
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 recall
It is disappointing that so many owners dismiss training classes so
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.