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Exotic diseases

Whilst outside of the UK our pets are at risk of exposure to diseases not commonly found in the UK (exotic diseases). Many of these diseases are carried by insects such as mosquitoes and sandflies, as well as ticks. Increasingly warm climates mean that these insects and ticks can survive further north within Europe, meaning that the area in which your pet could be at risk of these diseases is increasing. To find out more about these diseases click on the tiles below.

Many of these diseases are not protected against by the current PET travel scheme. This is something we should be aware of when travelling with our pets and it means there is so much more that we can do to help keep our pets protected in addition to the legal requirements. Visit your vet to discuss preventative healthcare for your pet when travelling abroad.

To find out more about the specific disease risks in your country of destination visit: https://www.esccap.org/travelling-pets-advice

Babesiosis

Found throughout mainland Europe. Disease has also been reported in Essex and Hertfordshire, showing the need for comprehensive tick protection.

Spread by: Ticks

Signs of infection: Fever, weakness, lack of appetite and pale gums due to the anaemia (reduction in red blood cells) it causes.

Risk reduction: To help reduce the risk of your pet contracting this disease it is important to reduce the chance that they will be bitten by ticks. Tick control can be in the form of a veterinary recommended collar, spot-on or chew.

Babesiosis Babesiosis

Ehrlichiosis

Widespread in Europe

Spread by: Ticks

Signs of Infection: Fever, inappetence, difficulty breathing, vomiting, nose bleeds and seizures.

Risk reduction: In order to help reduce the risk of your pet contracting this disease it is important to reduce the chance that they will be bitten by ticks. Tick control can be in the form of a veterinary recommended repellent collar, spot-on or chew.

Ehrlichiosis Ehrlichiosis

Leishmaniasis

It is primarily found in Southern Europe but seems to be spreading north, has now been found in central France and Eastern Europe.

Spread by: Sandflies

Signs of Infection: Hair loss, skin lesions and weight loss, and signs of kidney faliure such as excessive thirst and urination.

Risk reduction:  An important aspect of reducing the risk of your pet becoming infected with Leishmania when travelling is reducing the risk of them being bitten by sandflies. Sandflies are most active from dusk until dawn so it is advisable to keep your pet indoors during this period.  Veterinary recommended collars should also be used to protect your pet, to reduce the risk of sandflies biting.

 Vaccinations are also available for dogs, to help to reduce the risk of your dog developing the signs of Leishmania and it is a good idea to discuss this with your vet well in advance of your holiday.

Leishmaniasis Leishmaniasis

Dirofilariasis (Heartworm)

Historically the disease was predominantly found in Southern Europe but it is now found to be spreading to the north-eastern and central European countries

Spread by: Mosquitoes

Signs of infection: Breathing difficulties, coughing and exercise intolerance.

Risk reduction: Reducing the chance of your dog being bitten by the mosquitoes which transmit the disease.  Mosquito control in dogs can be provided by a veterinary recommended collar and  worming with a product effective against heartworm.

Cats can also contract heartworm so appropriate worming is also essential, as recommended by your vet.

Dirofilariasis Dirofilariasis

Rabies

In more than 150 countries worldwide

Spread by: The bite of an infected animal

Signs of infection: High excitability, seizures, paralysis, difficulty swallowing and death. Rabies can affect humans and each year around 60,000 people around the world die of rabies, many of them children.

Risk reduction:  It is a requirement that all dogs, cats and ferrets travelling and returning to the UK are vaccinated against rabies and this is something to discuss with your vet well in advance of your holiday.

Rabies Rabies

Leptospirosis

The disease is found in the UK and worldwide but there are multiple strains which vary according to region.

Spread by: Contact with urine, from dogs or rats, containing the bacteria. It is important to remember that even seemingly healthy animals can shed the disease in their urine.

Signs of infection: Symptoms include lethargy, increased temperature, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and jaundice (yellowing of the gums or whites of the eyes) due to liver failure.

Risk Reduction: Vaccination of dogs. There are multiple strains of Leptospirosis and it is important to discuss, with your vet, vaccination against the most relevant strains before you travel with your dog.

Leptospirosis Leptospirosis

Tapeworm

Echinococcus multilocularis is a tapeworm which is not present in the UK but is found in parts of central and eastern Europe, particularly France, Germany and Switzerland

Spread by: Dogs and foxes release eggs that are passed in the faeces.

Signs of Infection: Dogs can carry this tapeworm without showing any symptoms but it causes serious disease in humans.

Risk Reduction: There is a requirement to treat dogs for tapeworm 1-5 days before return to the UK. This treatment must be administered by a vet and recorded in your pets passport. It is also advisable to treat for tapeworm monthly whilst you are away and one month after you return to the UK. 

Tapeworm Tapeworm