When Will Canada Implement Protocols For The Transportation Of Domestic Animals To Ensure Their Health And Safety?
In the last year we have seen accidents involving transport vehicles, we’ve
seen parvo and ringworm and other worms & germs transported, and undo
stress put on animals.
Thousands of animals are being moved both within Canada and into
Canada, and with this comes the risk of spreading disease, causing stress to
the animals and potential accidents waiting to happen. Unlike the US that
has state to state requirements for transportation of domestic pets, Canada
has NONE! Its up to us to be proactive and aware of all the issues involved.
There are many facets to proper transportation protocols from using
appropriate crates to disease containment. It is important that all rescue
organizations or transport organizations have a list of protocols in place for
the transport of domestic pets for their volunteers to follow. Far too often
we are seeing parvo, ringworm and other nasty illnesses being transported,
multiple species being transported together causing animal stress, crates
crammed into vehicles and not properly secured and a multiple of other
issues. Let’s start with the basics...
Make sure you cover the inside of your vehicle with tarps/plastic or
something else that is easily disinfected or can be disposed of. After each
transport you should be disinfecting your vehicle. One of the best products
is Virkon. Note, that Virkon and/or bleach/water does not work on organic
matter ~ the organic matter must be cleaned using soap & water (or
similar) prior to the disinfection. You should also have a “transport kit” in
your vehicle. Here is what your kit should consist of :
Disposable latex/nitrile (not rubber) gloves
10% bleach solution in spray bottle
Extra collars, leashes, slip leads
Plastic or poop bags
Water & disposable dishes for drinking
Newspaper, pee pads, old towels and blankets
Extra crate for quick transfer from soiled crate or an unexpected health or
Pop top canned smelly dog or cat food to lure runaway dogs,
Garbage Bags Now on to protocols...
You should wear disposable gloves when handling ANY animals during
transport, always changing your gloves after each animal.
All pets should be crated or tethered safely. Crates should be disinfected
prior to and after each transport and in good condition with no broken
parts and secured properly in vehicle, not loosely stacked on one another
or “mcgyvered” in. If you do have to stack crates, ensure that there is
something to prevent “spillage” from the crates on top and that they are
properly secured so they don’t move around. Animals must be able to stand
up and turn around in the crate.
Do not risk having dogs loose while driving. If you are transporting more
than one tethered, ensure they are safely kept away from one another a) to
ensure you are not spreading potential illness and b) to prevent a possible
dog to dog issue.
No animals should be riding shotgun and that includes on someone’s lap,
unless in a small crate that is properly secured in place.
If dogs/cats are crated, cover each crate with a sheet/blanket etc to prevent
the disbursement of feces or urine or other bodily fluids. Using cardboard
in between crates is also recommended.
Each animal should have its own leash and not be switched between
multiple animals. The leash should remain with the animal from beginning
to end of transport. If leash is to be used again for another transport, it
needs disinfected i.e. bleach/water.
Transporting of multiple species is not recommended due to the undo
stress that can be created for the animals. Also, transporting of animals
from multiple shelters/facilities is also not recommended for health
If you have to stop and potty animals, ensure you clean up the ground
thoroughly, after a bowel movement in particular. Bring a spray bottle of
bleach/water solution and spray the ground where the dog went, especially
if the meeting places are the same all the time and in public areas.
Water should be provided every 4 hours en route
Most animals being transported have little to no vetting and likely have not
been quarantined for any period of time. It is important to remember this
especially if you have personal pets at home that could be affected.
If animals have been vetted, ensure that ALL paperwork is travelling with
pet in envelope and marked with name of pet
Wear old clothes. Clothes that you can easily toss away if necessary. Wipe
the bottom of your footwear with bleach once transport is complete. Also,
change clothes immediately and wash with bleach before interacting with
personal pets. Do NOT visit any public stores/areas until completion of
transport and clothes and footwear have been changed with the exception
of change of leg on transport and bathroom area.
ALL animals should be provided a de-stress period at the end of transport
and NOT unloaded at an event at a public place.
ALL animals should be inspected visibly prior to being loaded for
transport, checking for any signs of illness or injury, that includes,
sneezing, coughing, runny eyes/nose, limping, lethargy, etc. If any animal
shows signs of illness or injury, it should NOT be transported. If an animal
shows signs of illness or injury during transport, the animal should be
removed from that transport immediately and an alternative found. Also,
never transport unquarantined animals with ones that already have been,
it defeats the entire purpose of quarantine.
ANY unweaned kittens / pups must be transported with mama in same
ANY unvaccinated/unweaned puppies should not have “paws on the
ground” during transport
DO NOT bring personal pets or children with you on transport!
The hope is, that anyone that volunteers to transport animals or runs
transports for animals, considers the importance of this information and
not only the health and well being of the passengers but that of the drivers
and their vehicles as well.
***The above information reprinted with permission from Air Angels Canada.
If you have any concerns about the lack of protocols for transporting domestic
animals within Canada, please contact Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
(CVMA) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also address any concerns
on the CVMA Facebook page or on Twitter at @CanVetMedAssoc. Hopefully
soon the CVMA can work with the government to help ensure the safety and health
of Canada's pets. Regulations are long past due.
This is a disaster waiting to happen. God forbid there was an accident,
never mind the amount of worms and germs that are likely being shared.