There is growing concern over the threat from ticks and tick-borne disease from countries outside of the UK. France, Spain and other popular European holiday destinations are hosts to ticks such as the brown dog tick and to tick borne diseases such as Mediterrean Spotted Fever which are not currently found in the UK. As a result there is potential danger to dogs travelling outside the UK from ticks and tick-borne disease as well as the risk posed by non-native ticks and new diseases being brought into the UK.
In 2012 the requirement for dogs entering the UK to treated with tick protection was removed. This means dogs travelling outside the UK are at risk of contracting ticks and tick borne diseases and allowing them to be brought back to the UK, putting both travelling and non-travelling dogs at risk.
Why it’s so important
Ticks travel on dogs so it is not just dogs travelling that can be affected – they can bring ticks back which can then feed on dogs that have never set a paw outside the UK. Last year we saw the first confirmed cases in the UK of Babesia canis1 in dogs that had not travelled abroad. It is suspected that the disease entered the UK carried on ticks from dogs imported from Central, Southern or Eastern Europe where the disease is rife. At least one dog died in the outbreak in Essex and there is concern that we will see further cases.
How you can help
We are joining forces with vets across the country to call on the Government to get a comprehensive tick control programme reinstated into the Pet Travel Scheme so that trips abroad with our pets stay safe and UK dogs are not exposed to the risk of imported tick-borne disease. Specifically, we are asking for tick protection to be given prior, during and after travel to minimise risk. This could be achieved with repeated monthly doses of protection, with chews providing 12 weeks protection or collars.
With an election looming we want protecting UK pets and borders against non-native ticks to be on the agenda for the new Government team at DEFRA as after June 8th they start to reshape animal health policy in the UK in the build up to Brexit.
If you agree that this campaign is important, during Tick Awareness Month you can get involved by writing to your local parliamentary candidates explaining why introducing tick control for dogs before, during and after travel abroad is so important.
What to do next?