Travelling dogs at risk from “deadly” diseases

  • Dog owners need to take precautions to stop their dogs contracting potentially fatal diseases while on holiday

    Dogs are returning from Europe with potentially fatal diseases which could be prevented, according to research from the veterinary department at the University of Bristol.

    The problem has become acute since the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme in February 2000, which was designed to prevent humans contracting diseases like rabies from dogs but did not cover diseases which affect dogs themselves.

    Dr Susan Shaw, who has been carrying out the work at Bristol, said: “We’ve already lost many dogs from foreign diseases.Babesiosis, which is transmitted by ticks and makes dogs acutely anaemic, is a particular concern.

    “I’m worried the diseases could become endemic in this country if we don’t act now. Veterinary surgeons and dog owners must be made aware of preventative treatments.”

    Dr Shaw advises dog owners to :

    • Use anti-tick and sand-fly sprays or treatments everyday
    • Fit anti-sand fly collars (available only in Europe).
    • If in doubt, keep dogs in from dusk to dawn
    • Remove ticks with a special instrument, which can be bought from a pet store.

    “There is also a problem of the availability of drugs,” said Dr Shaw. “There is no drug in this country specifically for dogs to treat babesiosis and it is an acute disease.

    Leishmaniosis, transmitted by sand fly, is another big problem and again there is no specific drug for dogs in this country.”

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