The BVA, SPVS and BVNA are calling on the Government to restrict the movement of dogs from countries with high levels of diseases like Brucella canis, which are currently not widely present in the UK, and introduce mandatory pre-import testing.

In the last four years, there has been an increase in the number of identified B. canis cases in the UK, which had previously been sporadic and isolated.

Data released by the Government shows that cases have risen from three reported before 2020 to 240 in the last three years.

Most dogs were either imported, had returned from holiday overseas, or been bred with an imported dog.

In 2022, the first UK case of dog-to-human transmission was reported, highlighting the risks to those handling and treating infected dogs and raising levels of concern within veterinary teams, although the BVA says the risk is relatively low.

The BVA, SPVS and BVNA joint policy calls on the Government to :

  • Restrict the movement of dogs from countries that are endemic for diseases not currently considered endemic in the UK, after carrying out a risk assessment to determine for which countries and diseases testing should be implemented.
  • Introduce testing for any relevant diseases as a mandatory requirement for dogs before travel to the UK.
  • Improve border controls and increase enforcement to prevent the importation of puppies and pregnant bitches.

British Veterinary Association President Anna Judson said: “Vets are seriously concerned about the lack of adequate checks for potentially zoonotic diseases entering the country via imported dogs.

"Brucella canis is not currently considered to be widespread in the UK, so a proactive approach with an emphasis on reducing the risk of this and other worrying exotic diseases being brought into the UK is crucial.

“This is important both for the health of the UK’s dogs and the humans who care for them." 

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