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In this article we would like to make our clients aware that it is not only rabies that we have to guard against while travelling abroad with your pets. We have chosen to inform you of a few common parasites which cause debilitating diseases in your pets and potentially ourselves!

We will be looking at

  • Echinococcus multilocularis
  • Heart worm
  • Babesia
  • Leishmania

Echinococcus multilocularis

What is Echinococcus multilocularis?

Is a type of tapeworm that can occur in cats and dogs at any age. It is a worm that is classed as zoonotic, zoonotic is a term that describes a particular type of disease, illness or parasite that can be passed to humans.

How can my pet get it?

Rodents ingest eggs from the environment, the eggs form cysts in the rodent’s lungs, then the dog /cat becomes infected when they ingest the infected. Adult worms develop in the small intestine, they start to lay eggs which pass out into the faeces, and then the cycle begins again.

How does it affect me and my pet?

In humans this worm presents itself as a cyst on the liver. The cysts are slow growing so it can be years after infection before a person begins to feel unwell due to the presence of the cyst. If left untreated it will prove fatal. Treatment for this condition is life long, there is no cure.

Animals infected with echinococcus multilocularis will appear normal even if infected with hundreds of worms.

Why do I need to treat my pet for this worm?

You are required by the Pet’s Passport Scheme to treat your dog only for this worm, as we currently have no reported cases in the UK. The main problem areas are central and eastern Europe.

What do I treat my pet with?

Echinococcus multilocularis is eradicated by the use of a drug called prazequantel. Prazequantel is present in many preparations. We suggest Droncit or Milpro which comes in tablet form and should be given 1-5 days before entering back to the UK.

 

Heart worm

What is heart worm?

Heart worm is a roundworm that situates itself inside the large vessels around the heart. Heart worm has been reported in cats, dogs and in rare occasion’s humans.

How does my pet get it?

Heart worm is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes.

How does it affect my pet?

Clinical signs can vary hugely depending on the severity of the worm burden. Signs can be seen such as:-

  • Exercise intolerance
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss and loss of condition
  • Heart murmur (something your vet will pick up)
  • Vomiting
  • Ascites (large fluid filled abdomen)

Heart worm is fatal. There is a treatment available, however this in itself can cause other problems for your pet.

Why do I need to treat my pet?

There are no requirements for the Pets Passport Scheme, however due to the severity of the clinical signs and ending result, we strongly recommend that you protect your pets. Heart worm is a problem in southern Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the US.

What do I treat my pet with?

There are a few ways in which you are able to treat your pet.

Dogs can be given a spot on treatment or a collar which is impregnated with insecticide that deters mosquitos. The impregnated collar is called Scalibor and lasts for 5-6 months. The spot on treatment is called Advantix, this will need to be applied to the back of the neck once a month.

Both of these products are highly toxic to cats

Cats can only have preventative treatment in the form of a tablet. Milpro given once a month will prevent the heart worm forming and causing the clinical signs.

 

Babesia Canis

What is babesia?

Babesiosis is a severe and sometimes fatal tick-borne disease caused by various types of babesia, a microscopic parasite that infects red blood cells.

How does my pet get it?

Babesia is a disease which is passed on through the saliva of ticks.

How does it affect my pet?

Babesiosis can cause some serious and sometimes fatal problems. Signs could include:-

  • Fever
  • Anaemia
  • Nervous signs
  • Yellowish skin and gums
  • Blood in the urine

Why do I need to treat my pet?

There are no requirements for the Pets Passport Scheme, however due to the severity of the clinical signs and in some cases becoming fatal, we strongly recommend that you protect your pets whilst you are away travelling. Babesia is a common problem in the majority of Europe apart from the UK.

What do I treat my pet with?

You can treat your dog with an anti parasitic treatment. Such as a Scalibor collar or Advantix which is a spot on treatment. Both of these products also prevent sandflies and mosquitos.

Both of these products are highly toxic to cats

Cats can be treated with a spot on treatment which is applied to the back of the neck. We would recommend that you use a product called Broadline. This product covers ticks, fleas, round and tapeworm.

 

Leishmania

What is leishmania?

Leishmainia is a protozoan parasite which can cause skin lesions on the skin, and organ failure. Leishmania is a zoonotic disease which means you are able to become infected from the sand fly.

How does my pet get it?

Leishmania is transmitted from the saliva of the sand fly. Sand flies are not currently found in the UK, however they are found in widespread Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean.

If you are considering adopting a dog from a Mediterranean country or other endemic areas it is wise to test the dog before committing to taking the dog on.

How does it affect my pet?

Leishmania is rare in cats but more common in dogs. Clinical signs in both species may include:-

  • Hair loss with skin crustations
  • Lethargy
  • Sight and neurological problems
  • Liver and kidney failure
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nose bleeds

Why do I need to treat my pet?

There are no requirements for the Pets Passport Scheme, however due to the severity of the clinical signs and in some cases becoming fatal, we strongly recommend that you protect your pets whilst you are away travelling.

If your pet contracts the parasite then treatment of infected dogs is prolonged and rarely results in a total eradication of the parasite.

What do I treat my pet with?

You can treat your dog with anti parasitic treatment. Such as a Scalibor collar or Advantix a spot on treatment. Both of these products also prevent sandflies and mosquitos.

Both of these products are highly toxic to cats

There is no product available for cats however preventing them from going outside from dusk till dawn will prevent you cat from becoming infected.

 

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