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Why does my pet need tapeworm treatment before international travel?

When your pet travels overseas, multiple tests and treatments are required before they can fly. Pets must be healthy and fit to fly, and must not carry diseases when they travel. One of the many treatments for pets is the tapeworm treatment administered a few days before departure. Read to learn more about the parasite and why your pet needs tapeworm treatment before travelling to an international country. 

What are tapeworms? How do they spread?

Tapeworms are ribbon-like internal parasites that live in the intestinal tracts of pets. They attach themselves to the intestinal lining and absorb nutrients from the gut. Tapeworms are divided into little segments, and some of these segments contain eggs. The eggs are passed out of your dog in the faeces and are passed on to other pets when they come in contact with the faeces.

Dogs get infected when they swallow fleas that are infected with tapeworm eggs. Fleas become infected when they eat tapeworm segments that have passed out in the stool of an infected dog. Once the dog ingests the infected flea, the tapeworm eggs hatch and grow into adult tapeworms in the dog’s digestive system. 

Cats get tapeworm infections when they eat infected rodents. Infected rodents have tapeworm segments in the liver or intestines, and when a cat ingests these tapeworm segments, larvae hatch out of the eggs in the segments and infect the cat. 

Tapeworm infections are initially hard to spot, but in advanced stages, pets experience diarrhoea, lack of energy, weight loss and itching around the anus.

How can you prevent a tapeworm infection?

Tapeworm infections are easily prevented by ensuring your pet eats and lives in a hygienic place. Here are some things you can do to avoid an infection:

  • Deworm your pet regularly: Your vet will help you deworm your pet regularly. Deworming is the most effective way of preventing tapeworms. Several deworming pills are available in the market; follow your vet’s advice for the best brand for your pet and the suggested dosage for the best results. 
  • Control fleas: Since tapeworms use fleas as an intermediate host, it is important to use a flea control treatment regularly to avoid tapeworm infection.
  • Take care of your pet’s diet: Improperly cooked or raw meat or offal could contain tapeworm eggs. If your pet eats a raw meat diet, ensure the meat is fresh and sourced from a hygienic place. 
  • Good hygiene: Tapeworm infections can be prevented by practising good hygiene. Remember to wash your hands after handling your dog’s food and after picking up your dog’s waste. Keep your dog’s living areas clean and wash your pet’s bedding regularly to avoid fleas, tapeworms and other pesky parasites. 

Tapeworm treatment

Tapeworm treatment is simple and highly effective; pets are treated with an oral dewormer. Praziquantel is the most commonly used dewormer to treat tapeworm. It paralyses the tapeworm, and the segments pass out in the pet’s stool. Vets usually advise pet parents to follow a regular deworming and external parasite protocol to prevent further infection.

Why is tapeworm treatment required for international travel?

Tapeworm treatment is a mandatory import requirement for many countries, such as the United Kingdom and Ireland. Since tapeworms are harmful parasites that can easily be transmitted from one pet to another, many European countries require pets to be treated for tapeworms before departure.

If your pet is travelling to the UK or any other country requiring tapeworm treatment before import, remember to follow the country requirements correctly. Tapeworm treatments must be administered by a registered vet and documented accurately in your pet’s paperwork. The treatment must be given between one and five days of departure. If the treatment is not administered on time or not recorded correctly in your pet’s documentation, your pet will not be permitted to travel.

  • Remember to ensure the following:
  • The tapeworm treatment must contain Praziquantel.
  • A vet must administer the treatment according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The vet should record the name and manufacturer of the product and the date and time of treatment along with their stamp and signature on the pet passport or health certificate.

Some common dewormers are Droncit, Prazisam Plus, and Interceptor Plus. Products such as Stronghold, Advocate, Frontline or Frontline Combo, Nexgard or Nexgard Spectra are not accepted because they are ineffective against Echinococcus tapeworms.

Pet travel specialists

International pet relocation is not always straightforward; the process is long and time-sensitive. However, an experienced pet transport agent can help make the relocation easy and stress-free. Petraveller is one of Australia’s leading pet travel companies. Our commitment to pet safety and comfort is unparalleled, and we have moved more than 15,000 pets to 50 locations with a perfect 100% country entry success rate. Reach out to us for more information on tests and treatments during pet travel and a free pet travel quote.