UK pet travel has increased year on year since the Pet Travel Scheme was relaxed in 2012, increasing from 140,000 dogs travelling from the UK in 2012 to 287,000 in 2017. When combined with the fact that parasitic diseases and their vectors are spreading rapidly, this increases the risk of pets encountering these agents while abroad and bringing them back to the UK. Exotic parasites also represent a disease risk to travelling pets and, potentially, to their owners, so it is vital that pet owners receive the correct travel advice to keep themselves and their pets safe, while also maintaining UK biosecurity. Pet travel represents a unique situation in pet parasite control in that owners must visit an official veterinarian before travel, presenting an opportunity for accurate advice to be delivered in an easy-to-understand way so that compliance may be maximised. This article outlines the information and advice that clients should be given before they travel abroad with their pets, concerning their legal obligations, the parasites they are likely to encounter and how best to avoid parasitic disease and zoonotic risk.
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