BSAVA has prepared a poster to help inform owners of the health and welfare implications of taking their pets abroad.
Tick and Tapeworm Controls
Ticks carry a range of diseases that can affect both humans and animals. Some of these diseases (such as Lyme Disease) already occur in the UK, while others are much more prevalent in parts of Europe (see section on diseases risks abroad). Tapeworms are common in the UK and rarely cause problems. However, in parts of Europe there is a particular tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) which, although it does not cause illness in your pet, can cause a serious illness in people (alveolar echinococcosis).
It is therefore important, for both your pet’s and your own health, to provide your pet with protection while you are away as well as complying with any regulations for re-entry into the UK.
Rabies and Vaccination
The UK is currently free from rabies; however, it is important to be aware that rabies does still occur in parts of Europe. Even countries like France and Spain have seen occasional cases in illegally imported dogs in recent years and both Norway and Italy have reported cases. Read the most up-to-date guidance about rabies in bats from Defra.
It is a requirement to have your pet vaccinated against rabies before travelling abroad and it is important that any animal entering the UK complies with the regulations. If you or your pet are bitten while abroad, you should seek appropriate medical/veterinary advice.
Always think about your pet’s welfare
While it may seem like a nice idea to take your pet abroad with you, it is important to think about the welfare of your pet and the possible stress caused by the journey; changes in climate while abroad and any possible disease risks. It is also important to check whether your pet insurance provides cover while abroad and whether there are any restrictions.
Visit your vet for up-to-date advice
There are regulations that need to be followed if you plan to travel with your pet. While the new regulations make travelling in Europe easier, the disease situation is constantly changing so it is important to discuss appropriate preventive healthcare before each trip.
When travelling abroad, your pet may be at risk from a number of diseases that don’t normally occur in the UK, such as leishmaniasis, heartworm and tick-borne diseases. Before you go, it is important to be aware of the diseases that may occur in the areas that you will be visiting, and take advice from your veterinary surgeon on how to minimise the risk for your pet.
Leave your pet at home
Having considered all the information, you may decide that it is more appropriate to make alternative arrangements and leave your pet at home while you are away.