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U.K. Keeps Pre-Travel Deworming Requirement

Euro Commission agree to adopt new regulation to treat dogs before travel to 4 countries.

The echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm. Image from Centers for Disease Control.

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The European Commission agreed with the U.K. veterinary authorities to maintain controls against the tapeworm echinococcus multilocularis (EM). The commission adopted a regulation that requires pre-movement treatment for dogs travelling to the U.K., Ireland, Finland and Malta.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced in June that the U.K.’s deviation from European pet travel rules, which allows additional protection for the U.K. against rabies, ticks and tapeworms, would end Dec. 31. The movement rules on rabies and ticks will now be parallel with the rest of Europe.

“This has been a long process but the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) put forward the strong scientific case for the U.K. to maintain tapeworm controls and we are delighted that the European Commission has adopted this resolution,” said Harvey Locke, president of the BVA. “In our role as guardians of public health vets were deeply concerned that the removal of tapeworm controls would see the introduction of EM to the U.K. and Ireland."

The BVA and BSAVA worked with DEFRA, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe and colleagues in Ireland to lobby the European Commission for controls on tapeworms to be maintained.

“Although relatively benign in dogs, the resulting disease in humans, alveolar echinococcosis is an invasive, cancer-like cystic stage of the parasite and is invariably fatal if not treated,” Dr. Locke said.

The regulation ensures a dog must be treated by a veterinarian 24 to 120 hours before entering one of the listed countries.

“EM is a significant public health threat and we have worked hard to ensure the European Commission understands the potential impact of allowing this zoonotic disease to enter our country, said Andrew Ash, president of BSAVA. “The BVA and BSAVA will continue to promote the best possible health and welfare advice for pet owners taking their animals abroad.”

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