Get doggy ready for holidaytime
For most of us, this second May bank holiday was beautiful and sunny, and it starts us thinking of the summer ahead and the longer holidays we look forward to.
Many of us travel abroad in the summer, looking for guaranteed weather and a chance to see different parts of the world. As pets are part of our family, it is great if they can come too.
Travelling with dogs, cats and ferrets within the European Union and certain listed countries is permitted with a Pet Passport. Getting a passport for your pet is relatively easy. Your pet needs to be health checked, microchipped and vaccinated against rabies for a passport to be issued.
However, not all vets are registered to issue passports, so check first which practices do. Most people with pets travel to the continent by car and Eurotunnel and their pet travels with them. Some transport companies, for instance some ferry companies, require proof of health from your vet for your pet for travelling with them, so always check when you are booking.
When abroad, remember that the Pet Passport only covers rabies but there are other more exotic diseases that your pet can catch that are at present not endemic in the UK.
One example is Leishmaniasis. This is a caused by a blood borne parasite and when dogs become infected it causes skin problems, renal failure, arthritis and lymph node enlargement.
It is transmitted by sand-flies and is endemic in countries around the Mediterranean. Using a collar to deter sand-flies and keeping dogs inside at dawn and dusk when the flies are most active are the best ways of preventing transmission. As the infection can take months or years to manifest itself and can be fatal, it is far better to prevent infection as best you can.
When returning to the UK, your pet will need a tapeworm treatment not less than 24 hours and not more than five days before travel. This treatment must be effective against the Echinococcus tapeworm. This parasite infects humans and as part of its development it passes through sheep and dogs. Luckily, the infection is rare in the UK and most cases in humans are caught abroad however, it is a significant health risk and all measures to prevent it should be taken. It is also advised that your dog receives a second tapeworm treatment within 28 days of returning home.
If you are taking a short trip abroad, then your dog should have tapeworm treatment before you go and you must wait at least 24 hours before re-entering the UK and return within 120 hours to the UK or else you need to treat them abroad. All tapeworm treatment for travel must be recorded in the passport.
When you check your own passports are up to date, check your pets too. The expiry date for the rabies vaccine varies between one and three years, depending on the brand used, so make sure you donâ t get caught out.
Mind you, if all this is sounding way too complicated, may be a staycation is what the doctor ordered instead!