Vets call for tighter controls for UK/EU pet travel

14 November 2016

BVA has called for tighter controls on tick treatment to protect both human and animal health from the increased risk of zoonotic and other diseases in its response to the Defra, Scottish and Welsh governments’ consultation (360 KB PDF) on pet travel.

The non-commercial 2011 Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) made the transport of pets between the UK and mainland Europe easier and more cost effective for owners, however the removal of the requirement for tick treatments also made easier the transport of parasites that carry serious and sometimes life threatening diseases. Earlier this year Babesia canis, which is carried by tick species not native to the UK, was found in dogs in Essex without a history of recent travel, suggesting that pockets of infected ticks may now be established in parts of the UK.

Gudrun Ravetz, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:
“The increase in cases of Babesiosis is a real concern to vets throughout the UK. That’s why we are calling for the re-introduction of tick treatments for all cats and dogs traveling under PETS. Responsible pet owners should always treat their cats and dogs 24-48 hours before travelling back to the UK in addition to other pet travel requirements. It is vital that owners speak to their vet before travelling to understand the best methods to reduce the risk of their pet becoming infected with Babesia and other potentially zoonotic vector borne diseases.”

In addition to the re-introduction of the tick treatment, and tapeworm treatment for cats to again prevent the spread of zoonotic disease, BVA is urging UK governments to stop the number of animals being brought into the UK illegally under PETS for onward sale. This includes reducing the number of pets being transported to no more than five per vehicle, rather than the current legislation of five per person, and for this to be reduced further to two per vehicle for puppies under six months old.

BVA’s pet travel consultation response also calls for more intelligence led checks at borders, beyond the current document and identity checks, to prevent the number of underage puppies being brought into the country to meet the public demand for dogs. Often these puppies are transported below the legislated age and without concern for their health and welfare, further increasing the risk of diseases being introduced to the UK.

Owners considering travelling with their pet should arrange a pet travel consultation with their vet at least three weeks before travel to ensure their pet is ready for its trip. Owners can speak to their local veterinary practice for more information about what is expected when travelling with your pet and The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) has also created a useful leaflet on pet travel which can be found on their website: www.bva-awf.org.uk/pet-care-advice/pet-travel.

BVA consultation response on the Review of The Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order 2011 (360 KB PDF)

Related BVA policy

BVA Media Office