WEBINAR: Dogs on the move - Mitigating infectious disease risk while saving lives through international dog transport
During the last decade, increasing numbers of animal welfare organizations have begun working in poorly resourced areas around the globe in an effort to improve animal welfare. In areas with little capacity for local adoptions, sheltering organizations have started investigating whether international pet adoption might be a viable option to increase their live release rates. As a result, thousands of dogs and cats are being transported every year from places like Southeast Asia into adoptive homes in the US and Canada. This practice, while a life-saving mechanism for many animals, is not with inherent risks and controversy. The recent COVID pandemic has also heightened concerns regarding animal transport and disease importation. This presentation will discuss current trends in international companion animal transport, risks of importation to both animal welfare and public health, diseases of concern, and recommendations to mitigate the risk of unintentional infectious disease introduction and transmission.
Katherine Polak, DVM, MPH, MS, DACVPM, DABVP (Shelter Medicine Practice)
Head of Stray Animal Care - Southeast Asia, FOUR PAWS International
Dr. Katherine Polak is a veterinarian dedicated to improving animal welfare in Southeast Asia, and in limited-resourced communities around the world. She currently serves as the Head of Stray Animal Care – Southeast Asia for FOUR PAWS International, a global animal welfare organization based in Vienna, Austria working to end the suffering of wild, stray, and farm animals. Based out of Bangkok, Thailand, Dr. Polak currently manages a variety of companion animal programs in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, with a special focus on combating the cruel dog and cat meat trade in the region. A boarded specialist in both Shelter Medicine and Veterinary Preventive Medicine, her focus is on veterinary training, high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter programs, and organizational capacity building. She also serves as faculty at the University of Florida where she teaches in the online Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, sits on the WSAVA Animal Welfare Committee, and has also co-edited the textbook, 'Field Manual for Small Animal Medicine' with Wiley Publishing, a resource for veterinarians working in under-resourced communities.
Dr. Katherine Polak