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Motion sickness in dogs

Traveling with a dog Reading Motion sickness in dogs 6 minutes Next Epilepsy in dogs

Summer vacation is coming up and you have decided to take your dog with you ?
When the sun draws you south, special preparations are required. Because some mosquitoes, ticks and other parasites transmit diseases - especially where it is warmer.
Here we introduce you to some typical travel illnesses and preventive measures.


Distribution: Mediterranean region, tropics, subtropics, individual cases also in Central Europe

The infectious disease leishmaniasis is caused by single-celled parasites: the “leishmania”. These are transmitted to the host through the bite of the sandfly or butterfly fly. After a bite, Leishmania spreads to the dog's organs and damages them. One consequence is symptoms such as apathy, swollen lymph nodes and weight loss; as the disease progresses, enlargement of the liver and spleen as well as fever can occur. The disease also manifests itself in hair loss and massive skin eczema and often kidney changes. If left untreated, dogs often lose weight to the point where their lives are threatened, which is why veterinary treatment is absolutely necessary. Although a cure is currently not possible, a specific treatment plan can help improve the animal's condition. Leishmaniasis can occur years after an infection.

Prevention is the best protection here - so-called spot-on preparations deter the sand flies and prevent one bite. But an additional vaccination is also possible; your vet will advise you on this.

People can also suffer from a form of leishmaniasis, although the treatment options are much more varied.


Distribution: Worldwide

Tick-borne “Barbesia” are single-celled blood parasites that enter the body through ticks. There they multiply in the red blood cells and destroy them. An infestation with these parasites is manifested by high fever and apathy; in particularly severe cases, the dog passes bloody urine and develops jaundice.

Drug treatment for babesiosis is now possible, and in some EU countries there is already a vaccine that reduces the severity of the clinical symptoms. Unfortunately, this is not permitted in Germany.

As with leishmaniasis, spot-on preparations against ticks and fleas, which are available from the vet, are suitable as prophylaxis. An important preventative measure should still be regular checks for tick infestation. There is no such thing as 100% protection against tick bites .


Distribution: Tropics, subtropics, Mediterranean region

The causative agent of this disease is also transmitted by ticks: The bacterium “Ehrlichia canis” attacks the white blood cells (monocytes), causes damage to blood vessels in various organs and disrupts blood clotting. If this disease is treated early with antibiotics, the chances of recovery are good, but if the symptoms are not recognized in time, Ehrlichiosis can become chronic. If this happens, dogs suffer throughout their lives.
These symptoms occur in the acute phase (approx. 1-3 weeks after the tick bite) and vary widely: fever, weakness, anemia, difficulty breathing, nosebleeds, pinpoint bleeding (petechiae), vomiting.
In the chronic stage (weeks to months), edema, swelling of the lymph nodes, blood in the feces and urine as well as inflammation in the kidneys, joints and muscles also occur. It can also lead to meningitis and retinal detachment in the eye and even blindness.

There is currently no vaccination against Ehrlichiosis and the most effective prophylaxis is a spot-on preparation from the vet.

Heartworm (dirofilariasis)

Distribution: In large parts of southern, central and eastern Europe

The heartworm larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes and nest in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. Once the larvae have arrived in their target organ, they grow into worms up to 30 cm in size, trigger infections and can leave lasting damage.

The first symptoms of dirofilariasis are frequent coughing after exertion, fatigue, reduced appetite, and in severe cases, blood in the dog's urine and fainting spells. In the worst case, an infection can be fatal.

While treating heartworm disease is possible, it is difficult and expensive. It is therefore important to prevent with medication and spot-on preparations.


Distribution: Almost worldwide

The viral disease rabies has virtually disappeared in Germany, but the risk of infection still exists in many countries. The virus is transmitted primarily through saliva from infected animals - usually through a bite. In the dog's body, the viruses attack the central nervous system and salivary glands and then spread throughout the dog's body.

The course of the disease includes three phases:

Prodromal phase:
This phase lasts a few days and is characterized by increased salivation, an inhibited swallowing reflex and behavioral changes - some dogs become anxious, others unusually affectionate.

Excitation phase:
Salivation increases significantly and dogs become easily excitable. They have great difficulty swallowing, often attack indiscriminately, bite wildly and appear disoriented. This phase is also called “raging anger”.

Paralysis phase:
The dog suffers from paralysis, falls into a coma and dies.

This disease has no cure for dogs and means certain death. It can also be transmitted to humans through a bite and in most cases ends in death or irreversible brain damage.

Fortunately, there is a rabies vaccine that prevents infection. Before traveling, make sure that 21 days have passed since the vaccination. Only then will your dog be adequately protected. This vaccination is mandatory and must be recorded in the EU pet passport, otherwise the journey ends at the first border.

Prevent motion sickness in dogs

Before traveling south, you should definitely check your dog's vaccination protection and have it updated if necessary. You should also seek advice from your veterinarian about possible prophylactic measures and effective parasite protection to prevent tick bites and mosquito bites. Regular checks for ticks should still be part of it. If you suspect one of the above-mentioned diseases and would like advice, contact your veterinarian.

We wish you a pleasant and safe journey.