PET TRAVEL - What you need to know

Parasite Protection

As well as ensuring your pet has a Pet Passport and is protected against Rabies when travelling abroad, it is important that you remember to protect your pet against parasites whether holidaying in the UK or abroad this Summer.

Travel regulations are not designed to protect pets against potentially deadly parasites.

Their primary purpose is to protect human health and the spread of exotic diseases between countries. Management of parasites is an important consideration for all responsible pet owners as they can carry potentially life threatening diseases as shown below.




Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis,Lyme Disease







This requires treatments above and beyond the ones you use at home.


Although the requirement to treat for ticks has been removed the need for treating before travelling abroad has not. Certain tick species and diseases such as Lyme Disease are already present in the UK but others aren't. These carry and transmit potentially fatal diseases which affect your pet’s blood cells causing anaemia, fever, haemorrhage and sometimes death.

      Lyme Disease  (Borreliosis)           Babesiosis                                 Ehrlichiosis                               Anaplasmosis

              The deer tick                        The ornate cow tick                   The brown dog tick                         The deer tick

               (Ixodes spp)                            (Dermacentor spp)                   (Rhipicephalus spp)                          (Ixodes spp)



Sandflies are so called because of their colour. They inhabit all areas not just sandy beaches. Sandflies are prevalent in France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal as well as many more popular holiday destinations. They transmit an infectious and often fatal disease called Leishmaniasis. This often starts as facial hair loss and weight loss, spreading to cause damage to the immune system and organs.




Mosquitoes are blood sucking insects which spread the larvae of Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) during feeding off your pet. The larvae travel to your pet’s heart and cause signs of coughing, weight loss, breathing difficulties and potentially heart failure and death.



Echinococcus multilocularis (tapeworm) is found across much of Central Europe. Dogs are easily infected and although the adult parasite, unless present in large numbers, does not produce any clinical signs it can cause a potentially fatal condition in humans called alveolar echinococcosis.
The current Pet Travel Scheme still has compulsory tapeworm treatment (for dogs only) within 1 and 5 days (between 24 and 120 hours) before you’re going to re enter the UK from abroad.
Why not book in today for one of our FREE Travel Clinics for up to date preventative advice with a veterinary nurse.
Click on the map below to find out which parasites you should protect your pets from when they travel abroad.


Pet Passports

The PETS travel scheme allows domestic dogs and cats to accompany their owners abroad to certain countries and return to the UK without undergoing quarantine.  The qualifying countries include member states of the EU, USA and Canada. This means you can go on holiday with your pet as long as you fulfill the conditions of the scheme.
The PETS scheme requires a large number of conditions to be met and you should research them well. All the latest information is available on the DEFRA website or call their hotline on 03702411710. You should always check the rules with DEFRA before travelling even if you are only going to the EU as they vary widely from country to country.
 Here are the main conditions of the scheme:
  • Your pet must have a permanent microchip implanted before they are given their rabies vaccination.
  • They must be vaccinated against rabies but not before they are 3 calendar months old. Boosters are then required and MUST be kept up to date as lapses can mean restarting the pet passport again.
  • A pet passport will be signed and issued to you by an OV (Official Veterinarian).
  • A rabies blood test is no longer needed after a rabies vaccination although if requested we can still perform a blood test at an additional cost to check your pets rabies antibody titre level.
  • Pets can travel to EU countries and return to the UK from EU countries 3 weeks after a rabies vaccination.
  • The mandatory requirement to treat for ticks before entry to the UK has been withdrawn.
  • The mandatory requirement to treat for tapeworms before entry to the UK is still in place but will apply to dogs only. Not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before their scheduled arrival time in the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme, your dog must be treated against tapeworm and the treatment recorded in the EU pet passport.
Veterinary surgeons are very concerned that the changes to the PETS rules, specifically the removal of mandatory tick treatment, could lead to an increase in parasites and vector-borne parasitic disease in pets in the UK. To check which parasites your pet may be exposed to, click on the ESCCAP map. These maps are designed to help inform you of the parasitic threats present in different countries so that appropriate preventative measures can be put in place to protect your pet. Some of these diseases for example Leishmaniasis, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis can be fatal.
There are vaccines available which offer dog owners the opportunity for a new level of protection against canine Leishmaniosis and Lyme Disease. A course of vaccines are required along with an annual booster. If you are interested in learning more about the vaccines please speak to your veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse.
We offer FREE Travel Clinic appointments to help you plan the appropriate disease prevention measures and also check your pet's microchip to confirm it is still active. Remember to prepare well in advance as some parasite prevention products need to be applied well before any possible exposure to parasites. Please contact your local branch for an appointment.
Please contact DEFRA or your local branch of Cinque Ports Vets for more information on pet travel.

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