Southern Europe is a popular travel destination for many families. But not only sun-seeking tourists feel comfortable here. The mild temperatures also make the southern regions a paradise for parasites – and these can be dangerous for humans and dogs.
Proper parasite protection is therefore an essential part of holiday preparation – especially for the dog traveling with you, which is particularly at risk because ticks and mosquitoes are dangerous disease carriers. Ticks can transmit babesiosis (“dog malaria”), Ehrlichiosis, and the less common Hepatozoonosis. The most important measure is tick prophylaxis. Any ticks that appear should also be collected early. Hepatozoonosis, for example, is transmitted when the dog swallows infected ticks.
Mosquitoes can carry infectious larvae in their luggage, which they transmit from dog to dog and thus trigger what is known as heartworm disease (dirofilariasis). Mosquito repellent is therefore indispensable for the dog in endangered regions. It is also advisable to treat the dog against heartworm infestation. This kills transmitted worm larvae before they reach the dog’s heart. Treatment with such a wormer should start at the onset of possible transmission and continue at monthly intervals until 30 days after the last possible transmission. But mosquitoes also transmit the threadworm, the causative agent of the skin disease “cutaneous filariasis”. Heartworms and nematodes are common in many countries in southern and eastern Europe.
Leishmaniasis, which occurs frequently and is very difficult to cure, is transmitted by butterfly flies (sand flies). Sand gnats swarm more after dusk. Dogs should therefore under no circumstances spend the night outdoors unprotected. In addition, the use of veterinary medicines proven to repel sandflies is recommended throughout the holiday season.
Basically, before every trip too risky areas, it should be considered whether the dog needs to be taken with you at all and thus exposed to a risk of infection. In any case, a visit to the vet is part of the travel preparations. The veterinarian knows how to protect your dog from unwanted souvenirs and advises on which measures are suitable for effective tick and mosquito repellent. It is particularly important when it comes to repelling mosquitoes that treatment begins before you travel.
A vaccination check can also be carried out at a vet visit. Because all-around protection when traveling with the dog also includes all important vaccinations. Above all, rabies vaccination is an absolute must. A leishmaniasis vaccination is also recommended for entry into endangered areas, but this cannot replace mosquito repellent. Complete protection with all available measures is important.