Before you go on holiday…

1 August 2014|In Cat, Dog|7 Minutes
prima di partire malattie1

When you go on holiday with your 4-legged friend, you need to find the suitable place for yourself and for him. Make sure that you have brought all what you need and have done the necessary health checks before the trip. Pay attention to the specific diseases in the area where you will spend your holiday. Certain infectious agents may be endemic right in the place where you want to go, increasing the risk for your animal to contract a disease, which would not occur at home. Here are some diseases to know for the security of your dog.


Filariasis is a disease that affects both dogs and cats due to a parasite (nematode). The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes taking blood from infected animals, having microfilariae in their peripheral blood. The undeveloped larval forms develop inside the mosquito and then – through a new prick – they are transmitted to the dog. The injection takes place under the dog’s skin, from which the larvae migrate through the muscles of his abdomen and his chest, then they enter into his blood stream in order to reach the final location in his pulmonary artery. In the adult form the female parasite can measure up to 30 cm, while the male can measure up to 25 cm. and they reproduce themselves by generating new microfilariae which are released into the dog’s bloodstream. The disease can be cured through medication therapy but since the symptoms for most of the time are not evident, when they appear, it could be too late and a direct surgery for the removal of the parasite from the heart may be required. For this reason the best strategy is the prevention through a proper prophylaxis from Spring, with the use of spot-on repellents, with monthly tablets which kill the immature larval forms or vaccinations to be repeated every year by your vet.


The canine leishmaniasis is an infectious disease that affects dogs, caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. This is transmitted in promastigote form through the bite of small insects named sandflies. Once entered in the body, to defend themselves, they hide inside the immune cells, where they can not be destroyed. in Italy this disease is found particularly in the south coastal regions, where this disease is considered endemic, even if it is moving also to the north-west part of the peninsula. Leishmaniasis is a disease for which there are no specific treatments or vaccines. Prophylaxis is therefore based on the use of pyrethroid repellents in the form of spot-on or collars to keep out these insects. If you want to opt for an all-natural remedy, you can apply Neem oil on the dog’s coat which reduces significantly the possibility that the dog is bit by sandflies. Good practice is not to keep dogs outdoor at dawn and dusk, when phlebotomists are more active.


The disease is supported by a spiral-shaped bacterium, the Borrellia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by the bite of infested ticks of the genus Ixodes ricinus, which represent the vector of the disease whose source of infection is represented by rodents. These ticks are usually found in woods or in rural environments in connection also with the presence of wild animals that allow the maintenance of the infection. In Italy the regions where these ticks are most spread are Liguria and South Tyrol, while abroad America is among the first places where this problem occurs. It is important therefore to know whether you spend your holiday there is this kind of ticks, in order to pay close attention to the health of your animal. Borreliosis is primarily a skin disease, which also affects the cardio-circulatory system, the nervous system and the joints of dogs. Also kidneys might be affected and their involvement considerably influences the prognosis. If early identified and treated, the prognosis is very good and healing is complete, but there is no vaccine to protect against this disease. It is very important to be careful and check your pet thoroughly after each walk outdoors in infested area, to remove ticks promptly, in order to reduce significantly the transmission. The areas to be carefully checked are head, neck and ears. The best method is to remove the ticks using tweezers by getting as close as possible to the skin. Do not turn the ticks while removing them and do not break their body or remove their head. The use of repellents or insecticides for topic use are very effective to reduce the amount of ticks reproducing in the environment.


Rabies is a serious viral disease that affects our animals leading them to death. The transmission is only by bite. The time between infection and the onset of clinical symptoms is highly variable and depends on the way that the virus follows through the peripheral nerves to reach the brain. The disease affects the nervous system and causes behavioral changes (shyness, aggressiveness, irritability, vocalizations), profuse salivation, seizures, motor deficits and hydrophobia. The virus affects also the salivary glands, so that it is transmitted through the bite. Italy is considered by the World Health Organization among the countries at low risk, but the proximity to Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, raises the risk of reintroduction of the virus especially because of the migration of wild animals. To protect your pet it is essential to regularly submit him to prophylactic immunization, considering that the vaccine must be administered at least 45 days before the departure, because the animal can not travel before this period.