Veterinarians Without Borders on Biosecurity

In the face of a suspected distemper outbreak in Dichato, there is controversy over methods used to treat and rescue animals.

Dr. Elena Garde is Program Leader for Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB) / Veterinarios Sin Fronteras. The organization’s headquarters are based in Canada, but Dr. Garde currently lives in Valdivia, Chile. Her most recent campaign focused on Lebú, near Santa Rosa.
Copyright © Veterinarians without Borders

When VWB announced they would vaccinate and de-worm dogs to try and prevent outbreaks of distemper and parvovirus, it took all of ten minutes for residents to bring dogs of every size, shape and breed to the mobile clinic. In the time available, it was possible to treat only a fraction of the dogs present. Read more here.

Public Health contacted VWB about the controversial distemper outbreak in Dichato, and Dr. Garde and her team intend to go there as soon as adequate vaccines and supplies are assembled. Their expertise could change the way things are currently run…

Sterilizing dogs at such a time is NOT recommended for the following reasons:
Recent trauma and high levels of stress in animals as well as their guardians;
Sanitation is at an all time low;
Medical supplies such as antibiotics and painkillers are in limited supply;
Guardians are out of their homes and will have little ability to care for post-surgical animals.
In short, the situation is not conducive to safe surgeries.

Relocating dogs for adoption is NOT recommended – it is the perfect mode of artificial (human-induced) disease spread. VWB says, “At this point our recommendation is to prevent any and all animal movements for biosecurity, and to vaccinate as many healthy animals as possible to create a “fire-break” between diseased animals and healthy populations.” These recommendations for minimizing movement and surgeries are during the crisis phase only.


1 Response to “Veterinarians Without Borders on Biosecurity”

  1. 1 karen April 22, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    We were so happy to have Dr. Garde attend our 4th International Symposium on Non-surgical Methods of Pet Population Control a couple of weeks ago in Dallas, Texas! She came to receive training on EsterilSol, which is an injectable method of sterilizing male dogs. We are pleased to be able to provide support for Veterinarians Without Borders to use EsterilSol in Mafil, Chile.

    Veterinarians Without Borders is a wonderful organization combining compassion with evidence-based interventions to have greatest impact. We encourage others to support this organization!

    Sincerely, Karen at the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs (

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