St Martins Veterinary Clinic
St Martins Veterinary Clinic

Prevention of exotic diseases while travelling abroad

When returning home from abroad with a pet on a pet passport, you will be required to have your pet treated for tapeworm by a government licenced vet one to five days before re-entry to the UK to comply with statutory regulations. However, there are many other serious diseases that we consider exotic in the UK which your pet may be exposed to when abroad, and as they will have little or no resistance to these diseases, it is vital to give preventative treatment. Most of these diseases are endemic in Europe, especially Mediterranean areas, as well as in more exotic locations. Many of these diseases are fatal and some are transmissible to man. These diseases are transmitted by a variety of biting insects known as vectors.


Diseases and Vectors  (vectors in italics and brackets):

Diseases and vectors include: Dirofiliasis or heart worm (mosquitoes), Leishmaniasis (sand flies), Babesiosis, Erlichiosis and Lymes Disease (ticks). In addition a number of internal parasites may be transmitted by consumption of intermediate hosts such as rabbits, rodents, slug, snails and lizards. These diseases have a wide variety of symptoms some of which can be non-specific.. The best means of prevention is to control the vectors before they can infect your pet. A number of products are available, and different products may be available abroad, but there is not one that is fully effective against all eventualities and some cannot be used in cats.

Prevention protocols
From our knowledge and experience we can suggest a number of treatment protocols but which one you chose depends on your destination, local regulations and personal circumstances.

• For DOGS Advantix spot-on will control ticks, sand flies and mosquitoes for two weeks and Milbemax tablets will control most tapeworms and heartworm for one month. Alternatively, Scalibor collars will control ticks, mosquitoes and sand flies for up to six months and could be used with Milbemax for tapeworm lungworm and heartworm. Advocate spot-on which will prevent infestation with lungworm and heartworm for up to one month could be used with Nexguard tablets for Ticks and Drontal for tapeworm. There is a vaccine available against Leishmaniasis but this is expensive and not routinely used and prevention by controlling the sand fly vectors is still important.

• For CATS there is presently no product available to control sand flies and mosquitoes (Advantix and Scalibor MUST NOT be used on cats) but a combination of Fipronil (there are a number of different brand names) and Milbemax will control ticks, heartworm and tapeworm for one month.


All these products are available from us on request but some are prescription only so your pet will need to be registered with us. Other protocols are available that may be more suitable for your circumstances and we can advise on these.

It is generally recommended that treatment be commenced several days before travel and for a month following your return home. Please also remember that some of these products may be used to treat your pet before they return to the UK to comply with statutory regulations so this may influence the timing of your application.


There are other precautions you can take to prevent your pet coming in contact with the vectors. Avoiding letting pets outside at night or in the evening will reduce their exposure to mosquitoes and keeping them away from rough or wooded areas will reduce exposure to sand flies and ticks. Contrary to popular belief, sand flies do not live on sandy beaches but prefer wooded areas and even gardens, their name relates to their sandy colour not their habitat.


St Martins Veterinary Clinic

126 Station Road  

West Drayton


Tel.: 01895 444400

        01895 445144


Fax: 01895 431520




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