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"London" - English Setter rescued in Spain
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It is estimated that around 55,000 human deaths occur each year worldwide as a result of rabies. The vast majority (>90%) arise as a result of being bitten by an infected dog and the last recorded human fatality in the UK was in May 2012. The patient concerned, contracted the disease after being bitten by a dog in India.

The UK has thus far been been very effective at avoiding the introduction of this fatal viral disease through the enforcement of a number of different strategies. Quarantine, microchipping, vaccination and pet passports have all played a part in keeping the UK rabies-free since the beginning of the 20th century.

Recent reports of rabies in France (22/10/13) and the Netherlands (3/11/13) in imported kitten and puppies should serve as a very important reminder of the need to be vigilant. Well intentioned travellers abroad must ensure that they comply with the appropriate importation requirements. Local authorities can seize any suspected pet where these regulations have been compromised on the premise that the welfare of one individual cannot be allowed to compromise the health of a nation.

My veterinary colleague Nora recently rescued an English Setter that had been found abandoned in Spain. Sensibly, she ensured that her new companion was suitably vaccinated against rabies and tested for all other infectious diseases currently found in mainland Europe but not in the UK.

The English Setter Rescue Association enforce a strict health requirement policy. As well as having a Pet Passport they must be tested and certified clear of Leishmaniasis, be tested for Babeseosis, Erhlichia and Filariosis and, if only slightly affected, treated until clear.

Fortunately for Nora, her new companion "London" has now been certified healthy and is currently in the process of readjusting to the British climate and the joys of Burbage common!

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Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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