42% dogs imported from Russia arrive without vaccination

22 Jun 2018, 02:37

  DF Report

DF File Photo.

A significant number of dogs imported from Russia without having anti- rabies vaccination, according to Finnish Food Safety Authority- Evira.

The Evira has investigated the levels of rabies antibodies in dogs imported from Russia during the year this year and found that 15 dogs out of the examined 36 dogs were brought without vaccination, said a press release.

The dog's body forms antibodies when it has been successfully vaccinated against rabies.

 Almost all the dogs examined, however, were street dogs. Rabies is also transmitted to humans and there is no cure. Symptomatic rabies is always fatal.

"Based on the results from dogs tested by Evira, it seems fairly certain that not all dogs have been successfully vaccinated with an appropriate rabies vaccine. The reason may be that, despite the entries on the certificates, the dog has not been vaccinated at all. In that case, the documents are forged", said Kitty Schulman, Head of Section at Evira.

For individual dogs, the result of the antibody test may not be the whole truth. Some individuals, albeit very few, do not produce measurable antibodies. An extensive scientific study shows that approximately one per cent of dogs do not produce antibodies at all even though they have been successfully vaccinated with an appropriate vaccine.

The lack of antibodies may also be a consequence of the improper storage of vaccines, an incorrect vaccination method or the dogs' extremely poor condition when the vaccine was administered.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the central nervous system of all mammals, including humans. The rabies virus is usually transmitted through a bite by an infected animal. A rabies infection cannot be diagnosed before the symptoms begin.

Rabies is prevented to protect the lives of animals and humans alike. An infection is invariably fatal for animals, because animals cannot be treated after exposure.

Rabies vaccination is mandatory for all dogs imported from Russia. The EU does not, however, require a certificate of adequate antibody levels from dogs imported from Russia.

According to the import documents, all commercially imported dogs have been appropriately vaccinated.

Evira recommends that before a dog is imported to Finland, its rabies antibody level is tested by an EU-approved laboratory at the initiative of the importer.

According to street dog rescue organisations, street dogs are imported even from areas where rabies is present in both wild animals and dogs.