Perkins R Are pet parasite products harming the environment more than we think?. Vet Rec. 2020; 187

Whitfield V, Wright I Protocol for assessing imported cats. Vet Rec.. 2020; 186:(16)

Autumn parasite review

02 October 2020
5 mins read
Volume 11 · Issue 8
Figure 1 A systematic approach to diagnosing Angiostrongylus vasorum clinical cases.


The year 2020 has been an ongoing struggle for many of us, especially for those of us working in veterinary practices. But although our lives seemingly stood still for much of the spring and summer, parasites did not stop! This article will provide a brief overview of some of the current parasite hot topics and threats to the UK, taking information from the quarterly Parasite Forecast published on the ESCCAP UK & Ireland website:

So far in 2020 we have seen large numbers of rescued cats and dogs imported from abroad and the numbers of dogs entering the country with heartworm and Leishmania infantum infections is currently high. These pets can also harbour a wide range of parasites including tick-borne pathogens, Mesocestoides spp., Dirofilaria repens and Thelazia calliapeda. Many of these parasites are zoonotic with the potential for establishment in the UK.

The past few months, especially, have seen a resurgence of positive Leishmania spp. and heartworm cases in imported dogs in practice. This may be because of the large numbers of new pets purchased and adopted in lockdown, many from abroad. The high numbers of imported cases emphasise the need for screening imported dogs for both Leishmania spp. and heartworm, as well as vigilance for relevant clinical signs and early diagnosis.

The RSPCA and ESCCAP UK & Ireland have published protocols for assessing cats imported into the UK as rescues from abroad (Whitfield and Wright, 2020). While imported rescue cats are not as common as dogs, there is still the possibility of them introducing exotic pathogens that may affect them, their new owners and UK biosecurity. A consistent approach of clinical examination and testing can help to recognise exotic infection early and ensure appropriate monitoring or treatment is implemented.

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