Planning is vital for pets’ holidays

HAILING from the south of England, it is rare that I can gloat about the weather here to my family in Hampshire.

This winter has seen a fair few of these hitherto rare occasions as they braced themselves for another stormy onslaught. Fortunately, they did escape the worst of it, but are looking forward more than ever to summer.

Given Britain’s weather, it is no surprise that we see more people wanting to take their pets abroad for a holiday. The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) permits the movement of dogs, cats and ferrets to the UK without the need for quarantine. The system was simplified in 2012, but you should still allow plenty of time to plan your trip.

For travel to and from other EU Member States and approved countries pets must be microchipped, have an up-to-date rabies’ vaccination and be issued with an EU pet passport. You have to wait 21 days after vaccination before travelling. Dogs must be treated by a vet for tapeworm between 24 and 120 hours before arrival into the UK and their passport signed. No treatment is required for dogs entering from Finland, Ireland or Malta. Travelling further afield can be more complicated. The website is a good place to start.

You also must consider if your pet may be affected by the stress of long-distance travel, high temperatures and the risk of exposure to diseases. Many diseases abroad are not seen in the UK and several are transmitted by insects and ticks. Pets in the UK will not have met these diseases and are likely to be highly susceptible. Many of the diseases do not have licensed veterinary medicines available here, which means there can be a delay in obtaining drugs. Fortunately, most can be prevented.

At Robson and Prescott, most vets are Government-approved ‘Official Veterinary Surgeons’ and can issue EU pet passports. We offer pre-travel consultations, including a full health check and advice on preventing exotic diseases. This should be at least three weeks before travel as some medicines must be started early.

It is not just foreign travel that needs a bit of planning though. There are still some parasites within our own borders that we should be protecting our pets from. Following a mild winter, ticks are likely to be especially prevalent and lungworm infection is becoming more common. Both can be very easily controlled or prevented with prescription products so it is worth coming in to discuss what your pet might need.

Hopefully, by the time you read this the sun will have come out and we, and our pets, can enjoy the Northumbrian spring.

By CHRIS GREEN, Director and Senior Vet