On 13 June, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority announced that the rules for importing dogs to Norway have been changed.
Under the new rules, dogs must have been owned and housed for at least 6 months by a pet owner in the country of origin before the dog can be legally brought to Norway. This is to ensure that the health status of the dog is in compliance with the regulation on the free movement of pet animals or the trade of healthy animals. Indeed, on the basis of the definition of stray dogs according to OIE, Norwegian authorities have concluded that the movement of stray dogs is not part of Directive 92/65/EEC (animal health requirements governing trade) or Regulation 576/2013 (Non-commercial movement of pet animals). Hannah Joan Jørgensen (Veterinary Institute) explains the rationale behind the decision.
‘We have seen examples of imported dogs with multi-resistant bacteria and diseases such as heartworm and leishmaniasis. Some dogs are not or incorrectly vaccinated against rabies. In some cases, there is a suspicion of forged papers,’ she reports.
In 2017, the Veterinary Institute carried out a monitoring programme to check for the presence of non-endemic diseases in imported dogs. Blood samples were taken of 72 dogs, most of which were from Spain.
Five of the dogs were infected with Leishmania, and one was positive for heartworm. This parasite is not found in Norway, but the country has the mosquito species that can act as vectors. In the summer months, it is theoretically possible for the heartworm to spread from an imported dog to Norwegian dogs.
According to the vaccination certificates, all dogs were vaccinated against rabies - as they should be when they imported to Norway - but 8.6% of the dogs had such low antibody levels that the validity of the vaccination document was considered ‘questionable.’