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Why are internal parasite treatments recommended for your pet before travel?

Most people are reluctant to travel to international destinations with their pet because of the complicated pet import regulations and veterinary requirements. Many countries have a laundry list of rules to fulfil before your pet is permitted to enter. It is important to remember that though the regulations are time-consuming and complex, they are in place for the safety of your pet and to protect local fauna from exotic diseases.

Our pets are capable of carrying several parasites – external and internal – unknown to us. One of the essential steps in the pet import rules is the treatment for internal parasites before travelling. Why is this treatment necessary, and what does it entail? Read on to understand.

What are internal pet parasites?

Parasites are organisms that live in or on a host organism and get its food from the host. Our furry pets are prone to both external parasites such as fleas and ticks and internal parasites that live inside their body.

Pet parasites can cause different reactions in a pet, ranging from mild irritation and rashes to more severe complications. It is always a good idea to provide treatment for parasites regularly for your pet, but it becomes all the more important if you are planning to travel with your pet to a different country.

Dog and cat parasites

Pet dogs and cats can be hosts to multiple parasites. Taxonomically classified as Cestodes and Nematodes, these parasites live inside your pet in the intestinal tract or the bloodstream. Some parasites that affect dogs and cats are:

Cestodes: Tapeworms

Nematodes: Roundworms, Hookworms, whipworms, heartworms, lungworms, threadworms, and eyeworms

Dogs pick up internal parasites when they ingest larvae from the environment. Heartworms infect dogs and cats from the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of an internal parasite infection include diarrhoea, loss of appetite, vomiting, scooting and a distended abdomen. If your pet shows any of these symptoms, consult a vet as soon as possible and begin treatment.

Why is it important to treat your pets before travel?

When your pet is travelling internationally, an internal parasite treatment is one of the mandatory veterinary requirements by most countries. Treating your dog or cat before travel ensures your pet reaches his or her destination in good health. It also means that your pet will not unwittingly carry diseases to his or her new home country.

Most countries are stringent about veterinary requirements to safeguard local fauna from the introduction of diseases. Rabies-free countries such as Australia and New Zealand have especially rigorous pet import regulations.

In most countries, an animal officer will perform a medical examination of your pet upon entry. If your pet is found to be suffering from health issues, chances are the quarantine period might be extended. The pet parent will have to bear the expense of veterinary treatment and extended quarantine stay. Therefore it is always a good idea to ensure your pet is in the best health before travelling internationally.

Pets travelling to a new country may need protection against parasites that they are not exposed to in their home country. It is best to treat your pet before travelling so they are safe from parasites and will not carry them back home when they return.

What is the recommended internal parasite treatment before travelling?

Consult your vet for the best treatment for your pet before travelling. Several internal parasite treatments are effective against both nematodes and cestodes. Most countries recommend that the pet dog or cat is treated twice for internal parasites before export.

Ensure the vet fills in the details of the treatment such as the name and manufacturer of the drug, the date and time of treatment and the vet’s stamp and signature in your pet’s passport or health certificate.

Planning to travel with your pet?

International pet transport is a complex project with many moving parts that have to come together for a smooth and stress-free experience. It is recommended that you engage the services of an accredited pet transport agency to help you with this process. If you are planning to travel to an international destination with your pet, get in touch with the team at Petraveller for advice on international pet transport regulations and more.