Hillside Veterinary Centre

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146 Crewe Road, Nantwich, Cheshire, CW5 6NB
Telephone: 01270 625310

The UK Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)

On January 1st 2012 the rules for dogs (cats and ferrets) have changed. Whether this reflects the control of Rabies in Europe, or the failure of prevention of blood-borne diseases in the UK, this has resulted in reduction of travel restriction between Europe and the UK. Conversely, it has made travel to some countries more difficult.

Pets will be identified with a microchip, and vaccinated against rabies. Three weeks later they can enter the UK from EU Member states and 'listed' Third countries. There is a requirement to treat for tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis, 24 to120 hours by a vet prior to entry. Thus the blood test to confirm response to the rabies vaccine and the 6 month wait has been eliminated. You must enter on a designated route.

Pets from 'unlisted' countries will need to be microchipped, blood tested one month later, then 3 months from the blood test confirming adequate vaccination status, may enter the UK. The six month quarantine has ended. Pets arriving in UK without the required procedures will be quarantined until they have undergone the correct processing.

The sequelae of this is that some countries that had treated the UK as rabies-free are now requiring rabies vaccination, blood test and three months quarantine. Check with DEFRA before exporting to Australia and New Zealand for example. These countries also require other blood tests, such as Leptospira. This disease is included in routine vaccinations in the UK, so plan well in advance.

Regardless of the travel requirements, please think about the needs of your pet. Is it going to benefit from travelling to Europe? You should start a program to protect them from biting insects and ticks before arriving in Europe and treat regularly for Heart worm. The same applies for tapeworm.

Hydatid tapeworm

Echinococcus granulosa in the UK is spread mainly by dogs eating raw sheep offal. This parasite causes 'gid' in sheep and people. It will form an expanding cyst in the brain, liver or kidneys that can be surgically removed. Echinococcus multilocularis in Europe is similarly spread, but causes cysts mainly in the liver and lungs. These cysts have cysts within them, and those cysts have microscopic cysts. They expand by local invasion and metastasis, similar to a cancer. This makes surgical removal nearly impossible as the microscopic cysts are left behind to grow. Foxes, domestic dogs and other canids carry the adult stage of the worm.

Wild rodents such as mice serve as the intermediate host. Eggs ingested by rodents develop in the liver, lungs and other organs to form cysts. Humans could also become an intermediate host by handling infected animals or ingesting contaminated food, vegetable, and water. The life cycle is completed after a fox or dog eats a rodent infected with cysts. Larvae within the cyst develop into adult tapeworms in the intestinal tract of the dog.

Unless an infected human is eaten by a dog or fox, humans are a dead-end pathway.

The incidence of human infestation with E. multilocularis and disease is increasing in urban areas, as foxes are moving into towns and are nearer to people. Children, health care workers and domestic animals are at risk of ingesting the cysts after coming into contact with the faeces of infected wild foxes. Even with the improvement of health in developed countries, the prevalence of alveolar echinococcosis has now also been registered in eastern European countries and sporadic incidences in other European countries. Wash your dog carefully if it has rolled in fox faeces.


Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites (one cell organisms) and is transmitted by the bite of certain species of sand fly. Symptoms of leishmaniasis are skin sores which erupt weeks to months after the person affected is bitten by sand flies. Other effects, which can manifest anywhere from a few months to years after infection, include fever, damage to the spleen and liver, and anaemia.


Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. The heartworm is a small thread-like worm. The definitive host is the dog but it can also infect cats, foxes and other animals, such as ferrets. Though called "heartworm"; it lives mainly in the pulmonary arteries and causes damage to the lung vessels. Occasionally adult heartworms migrate to the right side of the heart. This is a serious disease of dogs.

Our recommendation is to start a preventative program before travelling to Europe. Use a spot-on to treat heartworm and one to repel biting flies and ticks alternately every fortnight. Each lasts a month, so cover is maintained. Worm with a tapeworm-effective treatment monthly. Keep your pets under cover during the evening when biting-flies are most active, and carry a tick-removing tool such as Tom O'Hook tick hook with you.

Further clarification can be found at:



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