A GoFundMe campaign is underway to pay the vet bills for a sick dog that was imported from Ecuador. The whole story can be found on the site but the quick version is as follows:

Someone from the Ottawa area was in Quito and saw a street puppy she liked. On her last day in Ecuador, she noticed he was looking sick. She took him to a local vet but he got worse overnight to the point that he was ‘barely able to hold himself up.’ So, she brought him home to Canada with her. I wonder about the ethics of subjecting a critically ill puppy to a couple flights and a long trip, but he survived the flight and was successfully treated for parvoviral enteritis in an Ottawa veterinary hospital. The outcome’s obviously great for the dog and I can completely see how someone would do this.

However, the bigger issues need to be considered.

  •  Why is a dog adopted on the day or travel, with no vaccination or other medical history, allowed into the country?
  •  Why is a sick dog allowed into the country?
  •  Why is a sick dog that has not been vaccinated against rabies and which can barely hold itself up (and therefore showing signs that could be consistent with rabies) allowed into the country?

It’s not the owner’s fault. She’s not expected to know anything about rabies or any other infectious disease risks that this dog could pose (although subjecting a sick puppy to this type of journey without necessarily being able to afford the required medical care is another story).

The bigger issue is why Canada has pretty much the most lax importation requirements of anywhere on the planet. We’re importing disease because of this (and we have enough of our own to worry about).

There was a good outcome to this story, but if the puppy was rabid (certainly not an uncommon situation in street dogs in many countries) or had some other important infectious disease, the situation could have been much worse.