Italy is one of the most animal friendly countries in the world. Pets are allowed in public places, restaurants, shops and public transport. The authorities are much more friendlier to cats and dogs than those in the US Australia and the UK. So moving to Italy with your cat or dog should generally prove to be a good experience. However, there are a number of diseases, insects and practices indigenous to the region, which your pet will need to be protected from. Different pet threats can be found in different regions of Italy, so it is advisable to ask your vet about these the moment you set up base in the country. Some of the most common threats that ail animals in Italy are as follows:
Leishmaniasis: This is a very serious disease that affects domestic dogs. Carried by a small mosquito like yellow fly, the disease is almost an endemic in southern Italy. The incubation period of the disease is almost an year, after which your dog might show symptoms like renal failure, hair fall around the eyes, abnormal claw growth and anemia. The disease is fatal if left untreated. Fly repellents and keeping your dog indoors after dusk is recommended.
Pine Processionary Caterpillars: These 3-4cm long brown and hairy caterpillars are extremely dangerous as they “burn” the flesh of any animal, child or person that touches them. Small animals can even die from the burn on contact. They are especially present at the start of spring. Seek veterinary assistance immediately if your pet comes into contact with these caterpillars.
Graminaceous Plants: The spines from graminaceous plants can puncture skin, particularly the spaces between toes and folds in skin. Avoid walking dogs in areas where barley and other such plants grow. If your animal begins sneezing or shaking its head rapidly, inspect the nasal cavity, toes, mouth and ears for these spines. They can be especially dangerous if they somehow migrate into cavities such as the ears.
Poisoning: Thousands of pets die every year in Italy due to poisoned bait left in the countryside, woods and cities.These poisoned baits are intended for birds and animals like magpies and stray dogs and cats that are considered a nuisance. Consuming either a poisoned bait or the remains of an animal killed by poisoning can prove fatal for your pet. Cats should be kept indoors while dogs should be kept on a leash, especially in the countryside.
Scorpions, Snakes, Hornets and Bees: Bites from poisonous animals and insects might prove fatal for your pet and seeking immediate veterinary assistance is advised. Vipers and scorpions are quite common in some rural areas, and special care should be taken when taking pets outdoors in the countryside.
Ticks and Fleas: While these are not just restricted to Italy, it is best to control and avoid tick and flea infestation by taking the advice of your local vet.
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