CDC Proposes First Dog Import Rules Update in 70 Years

CDC Proposes First Dog Import Rules Update in 70 Years

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is proposing changes to the guidelines for importing dogs into the United States. The proposal aims to update the said guidelines, which were last revised in 1956, by imposing additional requirements on people who are bringing in dogs from countries that are at high risk for rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease that is 100 percent fatal once the clinical symptoms start manifesting. Exposure to infected dogs is the cause of 99 percent of all human rabies deaths globally. Rabies was declared eradicated in the US in 2007, but it remains endemic in 100 other countries. According to CDC spokesperson David Daigle in a report published on CNN, the proposed changes to the dog importation guidelines aim to protect public health by preventing the reintroduction of rabies in the US.

 For dogs that are coming from rabies-free or low-risk countries, the CDC is proposing the need for written documentation indicating that the animal has indeed stayed in the said country for the last six months. Meanwhile, dogs that are vaccinated in the US and are coming back to the country need a rabies vaccination form that has been accomplished by a US Department of Agriculture-approved veterinarian. Dogs from high-risk countries that have also been vaccinated abroad face the strictest restriction level.

 To date, some organizations are calling for dialogue on how these changes can impact overseas dog rescues and international dog adoptions. Cats that are being imported to the US, for example, do not require proof of rabies vaccination.

 Keeping Your Dog Safe and Healthy

Human deaths due to rabies are exceedingly rare in the US, so much so that there were no reported cases in 2019 and 2020. Still, it’s of utmost importance for pet parents to watch out for potential vectors of the disease.

 Bats, racoons, skunks, and foxes are the most common carriers of rabies in the wild in the US. To minimize the chances of accidental exposure to potential rabies carriers when you’re out and about with your dog, make sure you walk your canine companion with customized dog collars and a custom dog harness.  It’s equally important to keep your dog’s shots updated.

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