No-one wants to leave their dog in kennels during their holiday period. Passport schemes and dog friendly hotels and apartments now mean you can take your dog on holiday too but you need to ensure that all the vaccinations are up to date and certificated.
Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 3 weeks before departure. Before you leave, check with your veterinary surgeon to make sure that you take all the precautions relevant to the country. Different species of ticks and worms may require different treatments and sand flies are also a serious health hazard. Ticks are especially common in Mediterranean countries and prevention is essential to avoid tick borne diseases.
In Europe, the most common tick-borne diseases are:
- Lyme’s disease – joint pain, lethargy, loss of appetite & fever
- Anaplasmosis – “dog fever” – vomiting, diarrhoea & seizures
- Ehrlichiosis – fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, depression, runny nose, watery eyes, respiratory distress, bloody noses & swollen lymph nodes
- Babesiosis – anaemia, red urine, fever, swollen lymph nodes, weakness & heart failure if not treated
- Bartonellosis – lameness, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, shivering & restlessness
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms during or after your vacation, take them to the vet immediately. Antibiotic treatment is effective providing it is started immediately. Any delays can result in losing your beloved pet.
In the Mediterranean, in addition to roundworms, heartworm, tapeworm, hook warms, whip worms and lung worms are common so you need a broad spectrum wormer. Heart worms are spread by mosquitos so an insect repellent collar or twice daily spray is recommended. Bio-Life EcoCitrocin based on picaridin is very effective and approved for prevention.
Leishmeniasis is spread by sandflies. Contrary to expectations, they are found in woods and gardens and not on the beach. Symptoms include weight loss, skin and eye lesions, lameness and enlarged lymph nodes. To prevent, do not let dogs sleep outside and use repellent collar or apply insect repellents daily.
Making sure your dog is fit to travel is clearly important. Dogs with existing medical conditions need special care and your vet is the best source of advice. Comfort breaks are essential and traveling and walking during the heat of the day is best avoided. Ample supplies of fresh water and access to shade prevents heat stress. Make sure your dog is checked by a local vet before departing and receives appropriate treatments for worms and ticks. Very importantly, make sure that the vet records and signs off the treatments otherwise you can face delays at port or even have your dog quarantined for 6 months!
A few simple precautions can make sure that you and your beloved 4 legged friend enjoy a lovely holiday!