MSD Animal Health has launched the Safe Journey campaign, which includes supporting materials for vet practices to increase awareness of the human and animal disease risks associated with travelling.

Claire Gotto, Veterinary Advisor at MSD Animal Health said: "With increasing numbers of pets travelling abroad1 and the risk of exposure to exotic diseases, we need to ensure Britain’s pets are protected by providing owners with advice on comprehensive preventative healthcare for their travelling pets.

"This is particularly important as pet travel legislation is primarily in place to protect human health, and pet owners may be unaware of the similar risks to their pets.

"As an industry, we should therefore be advocating preventative healthcare, in addition to the legislation, in order to protect not only individual travelling pets from exotic disease, but also the UK pet population as a whole."

MSD says the risk of exotic disease to travelling pets was highlighted by the results of the Big Tick Project which showed that 76% of dogs travelling abroad returned with ticks2. This included Rhipicephalus sanguineus and Dermacentor reticulatus, the latter of which was found to carry Babesia canis3, a potentially life-threatening pathogen.

The risk to the UK pet population from travelling pets have been highlighted by recent cases of babesiosis4 and leishmaniasis5 in untravelled dogs within the UK.

The Safe Journey campaign includes educational materials about potential exotic disease risks abroad, including Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rabies, Dirofilariasis (heartworm), Leishmaniasis, Leptospirosis and Echinococcus multilocularis (tapeworm), and the preventive healthcare required to reduce the risk.

Materials available include veterinary practice posters, social media material and leaflets. 

For further information contact your MSD Animal Health account manager.

References  

  1. Wright (2019), Leishmaniosis, Veterinary Times, 21/01/19
  2. Abdullah S, Helps C, Tasker S, Newbury H, Wall R. Ticks infesting domestic dogs in the UK: a large-scale surveillance program. Parasites and Vectors (2016) 9:391 
  3. Abdullah et al. Prevalence and distribution of Borrelia and Babesia in ticks feeding on dogs in the UK. Medical and Veterinary Entomology  32(1), 14-22. doi.org/10.1111/mve.12257 
  4. Fernandez de Marco et al. Emergence of Babesia canis in southern England. Parasites and Vectors (2017) 10:241
  5. Wright I, Baker S. Leishmaniosis in a dog with no history of travel outside the UK. Veterinary Record (2019) 184, 387-388


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