Taking your pet to an international destination is an exciting adventure! What’s not to love about a pet travel trip with your cat or dog to a new, or familiar, foreign destination. As well as dusting off your passport and arranging you pet’s travel documentation, you also have to consider any potential risks to your cat or dog from serious diseases caused by fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and sandflies. Pet travel safety is an important topic, and it’s vital you’re aware of any potential diseases in cats and dogs in your chosen destination. Fleas present the risk of Tapeworm in dogs, therefore various pet friendly locations such as the United Kingdom (UK), Finland and Malta require a Tapeworm Treatment for all dogs prior to entry. When you travel to certain countries with your pet, the risk of Tapeworm from fleas can be significant. So, it’s important to speak to your vet about the most appropriate treatment for your cat or dog, in order to prevent the transmission of Tapeworm from fleas. Bravecto quarterly treatment for dogs is often recommended, while Bravecto Plus is frequently advised for cats. Keep reading for details of how to prevent your cat or dog developing Tapeworm from fleas.
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What Diseases can Fleas Transmit to Cats and Dogs?
As well as being extremely uncomfortable for your dog or cat, fleas can also cause severe infections and parasites.
The most well known diseases passed to pets from fleas areas follow:
- Murine Typhus
It’s important to be aware of these flea borne diseases when you travel with your cat or dog.
Bartonellosis (Cat Scratch Disease)
One of the most common flea transmitted diseases is Bartonellosis, a zoonotic disease, therefore it can be passed from animals to humans. The flea transfers Bartonella bacteria to an animal’s bloodstream through the bite. Bartonellosis can also develop in cats and dogs from tick bites.
If a cat or dog is infected with Baronella bacteria, they can develop Bartonellosis. Symptoms of Bartonellosis in cats and dog can be:
- Loss of Appetite
- Redness & swelling at bite/scratch site
Should an infected cat scratch, bite or lick an open wound of a human, they too can develop Cat Scratch Disease (CSD). After the event, signs of human CSD infection can occur within 3 to 14 days.
Humans with CSD may experience the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen Lymph Nodes near the infection site
- Swollen, red skin with lesions
Although rare, CSD can also cause serious complications affecting the heart, eyes or brain.
If a flea bites a rodent (murine), or other small mammal, that’s infected with Rickettsia typhi bacteria, they have potential to transmit the bacteria to humans and pets. Murine Typhus, also known as Flea-Borne Typhus and Endemic Typhus, more frequently affects humans and cats than dogs, although canines can also develop the disease. It tends to be found in fleas that bite cats, raccoons, rodents, skunks and opossums. Often, cats and dogs don’t display any outward symptoms of Murine Typhus. Now, the really nasty bit….fleas pierce a person or animal’s skin when they feed, and when they eat, they poop at the same time. The faeces then enters the open wound from the bite, and Murine Typhus develops.
Fleas & Tapeworm in Dogs
Last but not least, we have Tapeworm. You’ll have heard of this before if you’ve ever entered the UK with a dog, since a Tapeworm Treatment is a pet travel necessity prior to arrival. But do you know that Tapeworms are actually transmitted to dogs by fleas?
Whilst grooming themselves, or other animals, both cats and dogs can ingest infected adult fleas. In this case, once digested inside the pet, a Tapeworm egg is released. The egg settles in the dog’s intestines, until it hatches, the Tapeworms hook themselves onto the cat or dog’s intestinal lining.
As the Tapeworms have both male and female reproductive organs, they produce eggs whilst inside a host. The eggs are passed out in the dog’s excrement, allowing the process to begin again.
Thankfully, for both humans and pets alike, a drug named Praziquantel is given orally, causing the tapeworms to dissolve within the intestine. An injection form is also available for cats and dogs, but not for humans.
Protecting cats & dogs from fleas
There are numerous ways of protecting your cat or dog from flea infestations and bites, including:
We use a combination of Bravecto chews every three months and a Scalibor Dog Protection Band for our dogs. Our cats receive Bravecto Plus every two months. Both Bravecto paired with a Scalibor Collar for dogs, and Bravecto Plus for Cats, offer all round protection against the likes of fleas, mosquitoes and ticks. Bravecto for dogs also keeps them safe from sandflies and Leishmaniasis Disease when you travel to warm climates.
Remember for your own pet, you should always consult your veterinarian. They’ll recommend the best preventative measures to ensure your cat or dog’s safety from flea transmitted diseases when you travel.
Check out other cat and dog diseases to keep your pet safe when you travel, and remember to leave a review for your chosen destination!