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Study launched to assess imported dogs health risks
The Risk Assessment Research Unit of Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira) has launched a research project on the risks to human and animal health caused by imported dogs, said Evira in a press release.
The risk assessment study will examine the situation of the import of dogs in Finland and the potential risks posed by imported dogs to Finns and their dogs. The project aims to provide more information for the authorities, importers of dogs and dog owners alike.
“This research is highly necessary. There is insufficient country-specific information about imported dogs and their possible spreading of pathogens in Finland. In the absence of research results, it’s also not possible to form a clear picture of the risks of importing dogs to the country in support of the dialogue about this issue. We feel confident that this research project will provide the facts needed,” said Evira’s Senior Researcher Heidi Rossow.
The aim of the project is to find whether the import of dogs to Finland causes health risks to Finns or their dogs. At the same time, the study will provide information that will help to improve the activities related to the import of dogs.
Laboratory samples will be taken from dogs entering the country. Blood samples will show whether the dog’s rabies vaccines are in order and whether they match the data recorded in the pet passport. The research will also involve investigating whether the dog has multi-resistant bacteria (such as MRSA and ESBL) that may infect humans, or pathogens that are not commonly found in Finland. Studies of the dog’s faeces will reveal whether it carries, for example, echinococcus multilocularis eggs, for instance, tapeworms, which may infect humans.
Participants in the research can include dogs imported into the country by both individuals and associations.
“All dogs, regardless of their background and age, can participate in the study. The researchers will choose the suitable dogs for the sampling. The only condition is that the dog has been in Finland for less than a month. Of course, you can also enrol a dog that will be imported in the next few months,” said Suvi Joutsen, a senior researcher at Evira.
By participating in the research, dog owners would receive important information about the health of their dogs, as they can choose to receive the results of their dogs’ laboratory tests. The laboratory tests included in the project are free of charge.
In the project report and other publications, the results would be processed in a way that the owners and the dogs would remain anonymous.
Evira also asked those interested in participating in the research or those having any questions to contact the project researchers.