Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shipping Info

A report last week states that Delta Airlines accounts for more than half of animal deaths during shipping for the previous year. But what it doesn't give is the actual number of animals shipped during that time and it just mentions in passing that Delta handles the majority of animals. There were 19 deaths with Delta... 16 on flights overseas and one dog that was never loaded on a plane because it was having trouble breathing. Most of the deaths were caused by things out of Delta's control... animals tranquilized by their owners and existing medical problems. Additionally, there were 5 animals injured during shipment, usually by its attempts to escape from the crate.

I ship a large number of puppies, 99.9% on Delta, and KNOCK ON WOOD, I've never had an injury or death or even a lost dog that wasn't located within a couple hours and where it was supposed to be, in good condition, as soon as possible afterwards. That doesn't mean something just awful can't or won't happen. I've been extremely lucky so far and I've nervous every time I ship. The other side of that is I'm just as nervous every time a family drives 6-8 hours or longer to pick up a pup.

Over the years, I've learned the ins and outs of shipping and believe me, what they are required to tell you when you make a reservation is not even close to the way things actually work. THEIR emphasis is on limiting the amount of time the people actually dealing with the animals have to put in on paperwork and making it easier to deal with their cargo without losing, dropping or getting bit by it.

There is a federal requirement that the animal has a health certificate issued within 10 days of shipping. What you don't know and what any vet can (and a good many WILL) tell you is the cursory exam needed for the health certificate does little to find anything but the most obvious medical condition. I've been to a vet who did not even have me remove the puppy from the crate. Many don't ask the shipper any questions about how the animal is behaving. And yet, there are some vets, like my own, who have their own forms which they fill out in addition to the state form. They take temperature, listen to the heart and lungs, check eyes and ears, do a fecal and spend time with a hands on exam of the animal's coat, body and limbs. My vet marks on her form if she sees a flea! But no matter how thorough an exam is, it can't discover or predict the possibility of a virus already at large in the puppy's body. One of my many reasons for keeping pups to 12 weeks and for not allowing visitation is the fact that it already has 2 shots before it leaves me and is exposed to viruses that cause many diseases that can be fatal or at least, very expensive to deal with. It's basically safer for the puppies.

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