Fears New Parasite Could Become Established in the UK
Researchers have warned that a European parasite could become established in the UK, after two new cases of canine ocular thelaziosis were confirmed here
Once again, this is a health threat that could be exacerbated by PETS (Pet Travel Scheme). The parasite, called Thelazia callipeda is already prevalent in some European coutnries, and vets are urging dog owners travlling to these countries with their pets, to seek advice on preventative treatment before they go. At the moment there is a gap in the Pet Travel Scheme, meaning that these preventative treatments are not compulsory.
The condition in dogs caused by the parasite is called canine ocular thelaziosis, as the adult parasite is found in the eyes and associated tissues. The first known case in the UK was identified last year in a dog that had been imported from Romania. The two more recent cases were found in dogs returning from Italy and France.
It should be noted that all three of these dogs had fulfilled all the necessary criteria under the Pets Travel Scheme (micorchippoing, vaccination etc)
Researchers wrote in Vet Record: ‘These three cases demonstrate the risk of introducing T. callipaeda to the UK through dogs being imported from and travelling to geographical locations where T. callipaeda is known to be endemic.
This particular parasite is zoonotic, but what does that mean? It means it can infect other mammals, including humans. These researchers specifically mentioned both cats and people as being at risk when travelling to countries where the parasite already exist.
‘…we would encourage veterinarians to discuss the relevant treatment options with owners planning on travelling to or returning from such areas with their pets,’ the team added.
So what are the countries you should be wary of? The poarasite is already well established in the following countries:
Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Bosnia and Herzigova, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Greece
“Further cases have also been reported in Belgium and Serbia. In some areas, such as Italy’s Basilicata region, the reported prevalence in dogs exceeds 40 per cent. Human cases have also been seen in Spain, Italy, France, Croatia and Serbia.”
The Pet Travel Scheme was designed to allow dogs to travel around the EU without having to be quarantined, and is deemed to have the necessary requirements to prevent diseases being imported to countries that don’t already have them – for example, rabies.
Researchers wrote: ‘Given the relatively free and regular movement of dogs into and out of the UK from mainland Europe and importation from rescue charities under this scheme, other pathogens, including T. callipaeda, pose a significant threat to the UK canine population.’
They added: ‘Although effective diagnostic tests and treatments are available, more can and should be done to prevent this zoonotic pathogen from becoming endemic in the UK.’
What does Autumn have in store for our pets?
Summer appears to have been and gone for another year, and while Autumn can be a fun time for pets, with lots of crunchy leaves to play around in, what else does the new season bring?
As the nights draw in, and are often wet, it may be a good option for some dogs to have an extra outer layer of warm, waterproof – and preferably reflective – fabric. This will depend on the size of your dog, what type of coat and how much time they usually spend indoors.
As Fireworks season draws near, it is a good idea to ensure your pet is microchipped, especially if they are prone to taking fright. Remember also to keep your contact details up to date – these things can easily be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of moving house or changing phone numbers – but the correct details make it so much easier to reunite lost pets with their owners.
As we turn our central heating on, the increased temperatures can prompt the hatching of fleas from any eggs that are present around the home. It’s a good idea to treat pets and homes with products purchased from your vet. Yes, there are cheaper options available, but it is better to purchase products that are known to work!
As Jack Frost returns, car owners will be turning to antifreeze again, and it’s important to remember that it is extremely tasty to inquisitive pets. This is especially the case with cats, and every year we sadly hear of pet deaths due to this product. It is a really toxic cocktail for pets, and even a small amount can result in irreversible kidney failure.
So in short, we hope you all enjoy the Autumn, and stay happy and safe.