Cases are "deeply worrying", says BVA president
Reports that rabies has been confirmed in two puppies imported from Bulgaria to the Netherlands have been termed "deeply worrying" by BVA president Robin Hargreaves.
Since changes to the Pet Travel Scheme in January 2012 increased the mobility of pets around Europe, there has been some concern that this could lead to a rise in disease incidence.
Commenting on the recent news from the Netherlands, Mr Hargreaves said this "must be a wake-up call to UK authorities to ensure that enforcement of pet movements into the UK remains a priority."
He added: "We have been raising concerns with the Government that the changes in legislation last year had significant unintended consequences in boosting the number of puppies and kittens coming to the UK for sale.
"Although the pet travel scheme is not intended to cover commercial movements, the fact that animals can enter the UK at a younger age has meant that people are abusing the legislation for this purpose with potentially grave consequences.
"The Government must review current enforcement of the legislation and be certain that we have the right measures in place to protect the UK's rabies-free status.
"The news from the Netherlands should also be a serious wake-up call to potential pet owners who must always ask about the animal's background and ask to see it with its mother.
For further information, see the report from Dr Christianne Bruschke, chief veterinary offer for the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in the Netherlands.
Image courtesy of BVA