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Importing Dogs and Pets from Outside the United States

Mar 19, 2008
Bringing animals to the United States from a foreign country is not frowned upon by many government agencies. Fortunately, these same agencies understand that the bond between an individual and a pet can be a strong one, so as long as certain guidelines are met, it is allowed, though the process may not be an easy or inexpensive one. There is also the aspect of the financial end of pets. Many pet shops import their stock animals from outside the American borders.

The reasoning for the in-depth process of importation of pets is the dangers involved. There are many very dangerous viruses, diseases, and contagions that are not present in the United States that could very well be brought here by infected animals. Though the Rabies virus is already present in the United States, there are always new and uncertain strains of the virus from other locations.

To combat this risk, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has placed laws in effect stating that any animals that are brought to the United States from a foreign country must have a rabies vaccination within the past thirty days before being imported. For some other animals that are not overly prone to rabies, such as cats, no rabies vaccination is required.

The CDC is not the only government agency that has placed a restriction on importation of animals. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has placed restrictions on dogs other than those that are from Canada, Central America, Mexico and the West Indies. This is due to bacterial virus's called "tapeworm," and "screwworm." In countries where these viruses are present, the importee must produce documents showing that a licensed veterinarian has inspected the animal in question for this.

When having your pet imported into the United States, make sure that they are not traveling with any substance that might carry a plant disease, such as hay or straw. Also make sure that the animal's feet have been thoroughly cleaned as some of these diseases can be carried in dirt on the animal's paws.

Rare or endangered species and species of animals that do not exist in the United States may be a bit more difficult, or impossible to import. Dogs however, are available within the confines of the US border in every form and breed, so importing them is possible if the correct procedures are followed.
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