The Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) was introduced in 2000, and allows pet dogs and cats to travel from the UK to EU and other listed 3rd countries without quarantine, as long as they comply with certain regulations.
This allows you to enjoy holidays abroad with your pet, but can expose your pet (and yourself) to parasites and the diseases they transmit that we don’t currently have in the UK. The aim of the PETS regulations is to protect human health, not animal health. It is therefore important to speak to your vet about appropriate parasite control to protect your pet whilst travelling abroad. It is important that we try and prevent these infections from being brought in to the UK.
The tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis is found across much of Central Europe, and can be transmitted from pets to humans. This parasite can cause reduced life expectancy and be fatal in humans. The current PETS regulations require an appropriate tapeworm treatment to be given to your pet between 1 and 5 days (not less than 24 and not more than 120 hours) before expected return to the UK. We also recommend that this treatment is repeated within 30 days of arrival back into the UK to minimise the risk of this parasite.
Ticks, mosquitoes and sandflies are also a problem across many parts of the mainland Europe, especially because of the infections and diseases that they can transmit.
It is important that you use an appropriate product to repel these parasites, to minimise the risk of disease transmission. There are several products available, depending on your pets individual needs, but many need to be applied at least a week before exposure. Make sure you visit your vet to discuss what is needed with plenty of time.
There is a vaccine available now against Leshmaniasis, a disease spread by sandflies. This is a course of 3 injections, and needs to be started at least 13 weeks before travel.