Foreign Animal Disease Can Happen Here

Editor’s note: While the following is from Dr. Craig Carter at the University of Kentucky Diagnostic Lab about a dog, all veterinarians need to keep in mind to inquire about the overseas travel of any horse–or its association with animals that have traveled overseas. In this Olympic year there will be a large number of horses traveling back from South America to major equine population areas in the United States.

The following report is from Craig N. Carter, DVM PhD DACVPM, DSNAP, Director & Professor, Epidemiology, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Veterinary Science, College of Agriculture, Food & the Environment, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

We received a report from Louise Cook at KVMA that a Golden Retriever was diagnosed by the University of Georgia Athens veterinary diagnostic laboratory with a Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (the etiological agent of human tuberculosis) infection by PCR. This dog had spent time in Turkey, apparently as a rescue dog, with an ante-mortem diagnosis of chronic hepatitis. Similar cases have been reported in the US (J Vet Intern Med 2007;21:1108-1112). The history of foreign travel or service by a canine should always raise concern for zoonotic potential when referred to a clinic or laboratory. Owners or adopters of animals that have been imported from foreign countries should always have a complete examination performed by a veterinarian on the pet to rule out any zoonotic disease that might pose a risk to family, friends or other animals on a premise. Military Working Dogs (MWDs) are given a complete redeployment health check-up prior to leaving their overseas duty station and after returning to home base in the US for all the same reasons.

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