Vets are warning UK holidaymakers who are travelling abroad this summer to take care that their pets do not pick up worms and other parasites.
The warning came on World Veterinary Day when vets across the world celebrated their contribution to human and animal health.
The theme this year was vector-borne diseases which are zoonotic potential – diseases that can be transferred from one animal to another, including from animals to humans, often by biting insects such as mosquitoes. Such diseases include leishmaniasis, an infectious disease transmitted by sand flies occurring mainly in Mediterranean coastal areas.
The most common symptom of the disease includes skin infection and inflammation. If left untreated in pets it is usually fatal.
The disease can also be passed on to humans but treatment and prevention can be taken.
Other diseases that may affect pets when they travel abroad and cause serious health issues include: babesiosis, erlichiosis, hepatozoonosis, heartworm, canine brucellosis, rabies and tapeworm.
The Animal Welfare Foundation recommends that you see your vet at least three weeks ahead of travel and much earlier if you have not yet obtained his Pet Passport.
n Discuss with your vet the countries you intend to travel to and what specific health risks your pet may be exposed to.
n Ask for a clinical examination of your pet to make sure it is fit to travel abroad.
n Check that the rabies vaccination and pet passport are up to date.
n Ensure that the microchip is working and reading correctly.
n Discuss the preventative treatment that is needed to protect your pet against ticks, sand flies, heartworm and tapeworm whilst abroad.
n Ask the vet to prescribe the most effective medication for your pet and ask them how to administer it.
If your pet becomes ill after you return to the UK it is very important to tell your vet that you have been abroad and before you go ensure that your pet is fully insured whilst away.