When you travel abroad your pet is at risk from diseases that are not present in the UK, particularly ones spread by ticks and biting flies. They are all serious, difficult to treat and potentially life threatening. Leishmaniasis is transmittable to man. We strongly advise that you take precautions to prevent your pet becoming infected. They affect mainly dogs but cats and ferrets are at risk. If your pet is ill abroad or when you return you MUST take it to a vet and explain where you have been.
Leishmaniasis – Present along the Mediterranean coasts (including France, Spain, Italy), Germany, South America, the Middle East and the Tropics. Transmitted by sandflies, symptoms include weight loss, skin and eye disease, lameness, fever and liver and kidney damage. Can take years to develop after infection, humans can also be infected.
Babesiosis – Throughout Europe, particularly France. Transmitted by ticks, causes severe anaemia, weakness and collapse 2-3 weeks after infection.
Ehrlichiosis – Wide distribution throughout Europe (especially the Mediterranean), North and South America, Asia, Africa. Transmitted by ticks, symptoms include fever, poor appetite, vomiting, nose bleeds and neurological signs. German Shepherd dogs are particularly sensitive to the disease.
Hepatozoonosis – Present in Southern Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. Transmitted by ticks, symptoms include lethargy, weight loss, fever, anaemia, kidney and lung disease.
Heartworm – Present along the Mediterranean coast and North and South America. Transmitted by mosquitoes. Adult worms line the lungs and the heart. Symptoms can take months or years to develop, and include breathing difficulties, coughing, collapse and heart failure.
Mosquitoes/Sandflies: active at night, mainly May-October. Do not let pets sleep outside unless protected by a mosquito net.
Avoid walking in areas densely populated with ticks e.g. forest and rough grazing areas. This applies mainly in Spring – Autumn but can be all year around.
Protective treatments against ticks, sandflies and heartworm: speak to us about the medicine that will be best suited to your pet.
A vaccine is now available to protect your pet against Leishmaniasis. Please ask for our information sheet if this is relevant to your travel plans.
Your dog will need to visit a vet 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before your return journey for tapeworm treatment; try to time treatments so that they are due to be repeated around this time, to avoid overdosing.
If you are travelling with cats or ferrets then please contact us for specific advice.