Pet Travel: Assessing Medical Risk When Traveling Far, Far Away

Posted by Raja on August 15th, 2011 — Posted in Health

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Getting his travel check up at Three Rivers Holistic Veterinary Services in Madison, NJ, Raja feels like a celebrity.

If your travels with your pet take you out of your climate and culture zone, what kind of medical safety considerations are realistic to address? 

Just because there are cobras in India doesn’t mean your travel pet needs to tote cobra anti-venom.  Just because there are jaguars in Mexico doesn’t mean your travel pet needs to wear a spiked collar. Yet, go figure, a very real danger to dogs relaxing with their people on the French Riviera this late summer is canine leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease transmitted through the bites of the phlebotomine sand flies.  It is the third most important canine disease worldwide.  May through September is high season for this dangerous illness.  So travel dogs in Cannes are in greater danger than travel dogs in developing countries!  Wild! 

Our point is that, wherever you go in your adventures, you need to make a realistic assessment of the dangers you may confront and take your concerns to your vet before you leave. The further you go from home and the more you venture into countries with different languages and customs, the more you want to minimize trying to find a vet in an emergency. 

Nonetheless, you cannot expect your vet to know every single threat to travel pets in every single microclimate in the world.  Try to find out what you might have to worry about and share your information with your vet.  

Raja’s leaving soon for a trip through some very high mountains for a high altitude trek.  I was a little concerned about altitude sickness for dogs and I found a human medication that had an off-label canine dosage recommendation.  My vet cautioned me against it.  She said that she knows Raja will not be allowed to exert himself at high altitudes and, given his history of mountain experience, it is unlikely he will be affected by altitude sickness.  And, most importantly, it is likely that the altitude medication itself could have serious side effects. 

So, working together, we researched the risks and made an informed decision.  All Raja’s taking on his trip are two emergency doses of antibiotics and diarrhea medication, just in case.  And, of course, he won’t be exerting himself at high altitudes.  As soon as we get over 10,000 feet, I’m picking him up.

1 Comment »

Comment by Sheryll & Critters.

Woof Baby Boy and Hey Helen,

When are you leaving and where are you all going this trip? I hope you have a ton of fun and don’t get cold high up on that mountain. I have not been getting my blog notices again for some reason. And you know, I feel the same way about medicine…. I don’t like to take it. Be careful and have fun!

Sheryll & Critters.

Posted on August 28, 2011 at 5:41 am

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