Letters to The Editor: May 23-29, 2024


The Editor:

Thank you for the excellent article “CDC to put tight restrictions on dogs traveling across the border.” I beg you to keep following up on this crazy plan from the CDC.

I am a long-time veterinarian working in Bellingham. We frequently send cases to Canada to receive timely, lifesaving specialty veterinary care. Under these new rules, the dogs can go to Canada but not return! It’s nuts!

I love how if I travel to Canada with my dog and then back to my home in Bellingham I am “importing” the dog to the U.S.A. Do I import my car each time I cross the border?

I have reached out to state veterinary leaders but have received no help predicting the specifics for returning to the USA from Canada. The CDC is creating a Dog Import Form. How? Why? Who signs off? When will we have access to this form? (Ed. Note: the CDC website says it will be available July 15, 2024.)

When you contact the CDC seeking information on how to prepare for travel to and from Canada for people who travel with pets, you receive an automatic reply that recommends using the DogBot on their website. When you use it, you will get all sorts of information about bringing in dogs from all over the world from all sorts of rabies-infested countries, but you won’t get information about bringing Bowser home from a weekend trip to Canada, a country considered rabies-free by the CDC.

Denise Petryk, DVM, MBA

Birch Bay, WA


The Editor:

Thank you for this warning story. Here in Washington state and B.C., there must be a lot of dogs that cross the border many times a year with their owners, whether visiting family, or going to second homes or recreational destinations on both sides of the border.

Particularly burdensome for Canadians with dogs vaccinated for rabies in Canada is the proposed requirement that the certification of vaccination and an examination by a vet (saying the dog is healthy) cannot be more than 30 days old at the time of entry. For families with weekend and recreational properties that cross the border often, this will be a logistical burden and a significant cost – potentially a monthly visit to the vet for the exam and certificate.

Reading the statistics – only one case of rabies on average every two years in the United States due to dog bite, and no statistic showing the origin of the dogs concerned were from outside the United States (rabies has domestic reservoirs in many species of wild animals transmissible to dogs), one has to wonder why the CDC would impose such onerous protections where almost no risk appears to exist from dogs that have been vaccinated within Canada and the United States.

The burden on Customs and Border Protection, the paperwork, the expense, and the advance planning required will be a particular burden on many families who do not travel without their four-legged family members in tow. There must be many thousands of frequent border crossers who will be affected – and against what risk?

Geoff Lewis



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