Summer Travel with Pets

Summer is here! Are you planning some summer travel with your pet?

Summer is here, and people (and their pets) are traveling more than ever! But before you take off to the beach, the park, or the lake or make those or plan summer travel with your pet make sure you think about where you’re going and what risks there may be for the health of your furry friend.

There are some things to consider when traveling with pets.

The first consideration with travel is making sure it is all done legally, in case something unfortunate, such as a bite or sudden illness, would happen. If traveling to a different state, pets should have an interstate health certificate, and should travel with a copy of their pertinent medical records, which would at the least include vaccine history. Rabies vaccination is required by law in most states, and having a health certificate and proof of vaccination can save a lot of headache if something goes wrong.

Another consideration is disease, and our little valley is lucky to have relatively low prevalence of some diseases that are common elsewhere. The first to consider is heartworm. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, and while we do occasionally see cases here in the Reno area (which is why we recommend preventative), it is relatively uncommon. Other parts of the country, particularly the southeastern US (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, the Carolinas, etc), have much higher rates of heartworm diagnosis. Making sure dogs are on heartworm preventative before travel to these areas is highly recommended. Cats are less likely to get heartworm, but infections are often fatal – even with treatment. We recommend cats traveling to this region take heartworm preventatives as well.

Fleas and ticks are also a concern traveling to the southeast, but are present in many areas of the country. Fleas can transmit tapeworms, in addition to causing itching in both dogs and cats. For cats, fleas can also carry Bartonella, the agent responsible for Cat Scratch Fever. Flea prevention is recommended for both dogs and cats.

Lyme disease has been in the news a lot lately. Deer ticks spread this bacterial disease that causes fever, joint pain, and rarely kidney failure. Lyme disease is most common in the northeast (New England states, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, etc) and upper Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin), so owners of dogs traveling to these areas should consider a Lyme disease vaccine, as well as making sure their pet is on a good flea and tick preventative.

A final disease that has more prevalence in other parts of the country is Leptospirosis. “Lepto” is another bacterial disease, but this one is spread through infected urine, usually the urine of raccoons or some rodents, and is often picked up by dogs from contaminated puddles or while swimming. Lepto can cause sudden kidney or liver failure, and most importantly is zoonotic: it can be spread to humans! A Lepto vaccine is available and an important consideration for travel east of the Rockies or to the Pacific Coast. In addition, several counties in southern Nevada and southeastern California have reported high incidence, so pets traveling to the Las Vegas area should consider vaccination as well.

Most importantly, make sure to have fun!!

Summertime travel with a pet can be a very enjoyable experience, and more hotels and attractions are becoming pet friendly. Going on vacation with your pet can be a great alternative to boarding, and the memories from the trip can last a lifetime. This post considers some common concerns associated with travel; for more information or further details regarding certain areas or international travel, feel free to contact our office at (775) 329-4106! Happy Summer!