Dog in mountains

Exotic Parasites

Pets travelling abroad are at risk of a number of different additional parasites

It’s the last day of our parasite tour and the focus today is on EXOTIC PARASITES. We have already covered a couple of these under Ticks and Tapeworms.

These are parasites which are not found commonly in the UK, but dogs and cats imported from other countries may be affected and our pets are at risk if they travel outside the UK.

Most of these parasites are passed on by other bugs (e.g. Mosquitoes, Sandflies, Fruit flies) and many can take months or even years to become apparent.

Mosquitoes and other biting insects are common transmitters of disease

Leishmania is transmitted by sandflies. This is a very common condition in the southern Mediterranean area. It can cause a variety of health issues including skin lesions, enlarged lymph nodes, kidney disease, eye problems and nervous system problems. It is very difficult to treat. This is a major concern in dogs that have been rescued from Eastern European countries. Leishmaniasis can also affect people.

Dogs rescued from Southern or Eastern Europe are often infected

Heartworm is transmitted through mosquito bites. The worms can grow very long and clog up the heart and arteries, causing heart failure.

Eyeworm is as unpleasant as it sounds – worms living on the surface of the eye. This parasite is transmitted by fruit flies.

Heartworms in a specimen jar
Heartworms live inside the heart and blood vessels
Leishmania parasites in the bloodstream

Be extremely cautious when adopting a dog from overseas

If you have adopted a rescue dog from overseas, it is really important to get them tested for these diseases and treated if necessary. If you are travelling abroad with your pet, preventing these parasites is vital.

If you would like a personalised parasite risk assessment for your pet, please fill in the relevant questionnaire below.  This service costs £15, or is included in all wellbeing visit costs.  Once your questionnaire has been submitted, we will email you a link for payment.  Once payment is received, we will email your pet’s personalised advice within 2 working days.


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Parasites Parasites are not just annoying and unpleasant, they can be dangerous both to our pets and ourselves, transmitting all sorts of diseases.

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