Because of our island status and unique climate, the UK is protected against many different diseases. This means that British pets will not have come across many of the disease challenges they may face in other countries. If you are travelling abroad with your pet, it is important to know which of these diseases are prevalent in the area you are travelling to, and how best to protect your pet. A nice holiday on the Med is a high price to pay for a potentially serious life-threatening illness!
The vast majority of these killer diseases are transmitted by parasites found in warmer climates, therefore good parasite control is the best means of protection for your pet. With fewer controls for returning to the UK, the risk is greater for some of these ‘exotic’ parasites and diseases to be imported to the UK. By protecting your pet while abroad, you will not only be protecting their health, but also the health of thousands of other pets who will never travel out of the UK, by reducing the risk of bringing any unwelcome hitchhikers home!
Please click on the links below for more information about each individual disease, and look further down the page for parasite control measures suitable for travelling pets.
Exotic diseases of concern
- Leishmaniasis – tropics and Mediterranean coast
- Heartworm – worldwide including southern Europe
- Babesiosis – southern and central Europe
- Ehrlichiosis – worldwide including southern Europe
- Hepatozoonosis – warmer climates including Mediterranean
Ticks, sandflies and mosquitoes are the main disease-transmitting parasites. There are a few products available from your vet which will repel and kill these. Non-prescription products are really not effective enough for this purpose. Speak to your vet to discuss the best options, taking into account your pet’s species, age and location of travel. Start treating your pet at least 3 weeks before travelling, continue treatment while abroad, and for at least 1 month after returning.
It is very important to give your pet the correct amount of all preventative treatment so weigh your pet accurately and make sure that all products are administered as per the manufacturers instructions. DO NOT treat your cat with the same products are for your dog, as many of the best preventative therapies for dogs are toxic to cats. If in any doubt, always ask advice from your vet.
Common products used
The decision of which products to use should be taken in conjunction with your vet. The most commonly used products for biting parasite control are:
- Advantix (imidocloprid and permethrin) – a ‘spot-on’ treatment that kills fleas and ticks, repels ticks, sandflies and mosquitoes. Should be applied every 2 to 4 weeks depending on risk area. May not kill ticks that are already attached at the time of administration. Toxic to cats.
- Scalibor (deltamethrin) – a collar that repels ticks, sandflies and mosquitoes for 5-6 months. For use on dogs only.
- Frontline (fipronil) – safe for use in dogs and cats. Kills fleas, biting lice and ticks. Kills ticks for up to 2 weeks after administration. Does not have any repellent effect.
Last modified: 2011-11-01