Importing overseas rescue dogs: An investigation into issues seen in UK veterinary practice


AWF Research Fund



Research Period


Area of study

Student Research


Investigator(s): Tobias Hunter

Supervisor(s): Dr Alan Radford, Dr Carri Westgarth

  There is increasing concern about the health implications of importing rescue dogs from overseas, due to risks of introducing foreign infectious diseases into the UK. This project, using consultation data via the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET), aimed to determine:

1. The types of health and behavioural issues presented to vets when dogs are rehomed from abroad

2. The prevalence of overseas rescue dogs in the UK domestic canine population

3. The measures vets are using when presented with overseas rescue dogs

4. And whether these practices are causing an increase in disease risks imported into the UK.

Due to time and data constraints the third and fourth aims could not be investigated.

The data will be presented to SAVSNET investigators. The project will also act as a pilot study for future students and researchers wishing to investigate the prevalence of overseas rescue dogs in the UK. Follow up projects might include a project which determines if the import of rescue dogs from abroad is causing an increase in disease risk or even introducing exotic diseases into the UK. Another might be a study to specifically determine whether a dog is a rescue dog rehomed from abroad, or simply a dog entering the country due to their owner immigrating etc.

Watch Tobias Hunter present at the 2021 Discussion Forum


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