Frequently asked questions about echinococcus (E. multilocularis) or tapeworm treatment

These questions only deal with E. multilocularis (hereafter referred to as echinococcus or tapeworm treatment), the animal must also fulfil the other import requirements. The anti-echinococcus treatment is only required of dogs. Cats or ferrets do not need to be medicated. 

1. I will be taking my dog with me to Sweden, what should I do when returning to Finland?

If the trip is of a one-off nature or if you travel a couple of times a year, the easiest way is to ask a veterinarian abroad to administer the tapeworm treatment to the dog 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before returning to Finland. The veterinarian will record this in the pet passport. If the treatment is administered the day before arriving in Finland, it is also worth asking the veterinarian to record in the pet passport what time the treatment was administered.

If you travel regularly, you can also use the 28 day rule. A veterinarian in Finland gives your dog the treatment two times between a minimum of 1 day (24 hours) and a maximum of 28 days. After your dog has received the second treatment, he can travel freely between Finland and all EU-countries, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland for 28 days. If you travel for longer than 28 days, your dog can be treated by a veterinarian in any EU-country, Norway, Switzerland or Iceland every maximum 28 days for as long as you travel. When you have returned to Finland after travelling, a veterinarian in Finland will give your dog a final treatment to end the 28 day rule.

So two treatments in Finland before you travel, supporting treatments in any EU-country, Norway, Switzerland or Iceland and one treatment after you have returned to Finland. All treatments are given by a veterinarian between 1-28 days and are marked in your dog's pet passport. The veterinarian in Finland who starts this treatment, also marks in the dog's passport that he is using the 28 day rule.

2. Travelling with a dog to Norway through Sweden

Sweden is not free of the echinococcus parasite, but Norway and Finland are. This means that the dog must be administered the tapeworm treatment both before crossing the border to Norway and before returning to Finland.

There are two alternatives for the tapeworm treatment and you can choose which is best for your travels.

Alternative 1.a veterinarian in Finland or Sweden gives the tapeworm treatment to the dog 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before you cross the border to Norway. The treatment is recorded in the pet passport. When returning from Norway, it is the opposite: a veterinarian in either Norway or Sweden gives the tapeworm treatment to the dog 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before you cross the border to Finland.

Alternative 2.the so called 28 day rule. With this rule, the dog is given the tapeworm treatment in Finland by a veterinarian two times before the travelling begins. These two treatments are given between 1 day (24 hours) and 28 days. After the dog has received these two treatments, the dog will have a total of 28 days to travel freely in all EU-countries and Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. The 28 day rule is ended in Finland by a veterinarian, who gives one more treatment to the dog. All the treatments are recorded in the pet passport by a veterinarian, who also records that the 28 day rule is being used (see question 8.).

3. Travelling directly from Finland to Norway and back

Travelling directly between Finland and Norway requires no tapeworm treatment, because both countries are free of the echinococcus parasite.

4. I am flying with my dog from Norway through Denmark to Finland. I will change flights in Denmark. Is the echinococcus treatment required?

If the dog does not exit the airport’s customs area in Denmark, the echinococcus treatment is not required before arriving in Finland.

5. I am going to take my dog to a dog show in Tallinn and will be spending less than 24 hours there.

If you stay in Tallinn for less than 24 hours, it is not possible to administer the tapeworm treatment once 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before returning to Finland. In this case you have to apply the so-called 28-day rule in which the dog is administered the tapeworm treatment twice in Finland between 1-28 days before travelling and once again after returning to Finland, a maximum of 28 days since the previous treatment. A veterinarian gives all tapeworm treatments to the dog. If you are travelling with the dog on a regular basis, it is worth keeping the treatment valid by administering the dog a tapeworm treatment regularly at a maximum interval of 28 days.

6. Can I start the tapeworm treatment by using the 28-day rule in some other EU-country?

Yes, you can start the tapeworm treatment in another EU-country. If the first tapeworm treatment is administered abroad by a veterinarian, the dog should receive it 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before arriving in Finland. The second tapeworm treatment can be administered by a veterinarian in Finland within 28 days of the previous treatment, which was administered abroad. After this, the dog has 28 days of free movement.

7. Do all countries allow dogs to be treated against tapeworms using the 28-day rule?

No, they do not. Out of the tapeworm free countries, only Finland and Norway allow the usage of the 28-day rule. If you are travelling to the other tapeworm free countries (Great Britain, Ireland, Malta), the only option is to administer the tapeworm treatment to the dog 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before entering the aforementioned country.

8. How does a veterinarian record the administration of the tapeworm treatment in the pet passport when using the so called 28 day rule?

The veterinarian records the use of the 28 day rule in the pet passport using for example the following sentences:

Säännöllinen käsittely EU:ssa tai lemmikkipassia käyttävässä maassa enintään 28 vuorokauden välein (asetus 2018/772).

Regelbunden behandling inom EU eller i länder som använder pass för sällskapsdjur med högst 28 dagars mellanrum (förordning 2018/772)

Regular treatment within the EU or in a country using pet passport at maximum 28 d intervals (regulation 2018/772)

9. I will be bringing a puppy younger than three months from Germany to Finland. Is the tapeworm treatment required?

Yes. As from 1.1.2012 the tapeworm treatment is also required for puppies younger than three months that are brought to Finland. The tapeworm treatment has to be administered by a veterinarian 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before the puppy arrives in Finland.

10. I am going to bring a cat to Finland from abroad. Is the tapeworm treatment required?

As from 1.1.2012, cats imported to Finland are not required to have the tapeworm treatment. According to present knowledge, cats are not thought to be part of the parasite’s life cycle.

11. I will be returning with my dog from a holiday in Central Europe. In which country should the dog be administered the tapeworm treatment?

On your return trip a veterinarian in any country of transit can administer the tapeworm treatment to the dog, as long as the treatment is administered 1-5 days (24-120 hours) before returning to Finland. The Finnish Food Authority recommends that the treatment should be administered in the last country before crossing the border to Finland.

 

The differences between the single treatment (1-5 days) and the 28-day rule:

The single treatment that is given 1-5 days before travelling from a country that is not free of echinococcus to a country that is free of echinococcus is the usual way to implement the treatment. This single treatment can be used when travelling to Finland, Norway, Great Britain, Ireland and Malta. If the dog gets infected with the echinococcus parasite abroad (in a country that is not free of echinococcus), a single treatment that is given abroad as close to returning to Finland as possible, prevents the echinococcus parasite from arriving in Finland with the dog. The treatment should be given a minimum of 24h before the dog arrives in Finland, because within that 24h time period the dog will defecate the potential echinococcus parasites out of its system before arriving in Finland. Finland is free of echinococcus so the dog cannot get infected with the parasite here. If the treatment was given to the dog in Finland before travelling, it would not prevent the dog from still getting infected with the echinococcus parasite while abroad.

The 28-day rule is an alternative way to implement the echinococcus treatment. Only Finland and Norway allow the usage of the 28-day rule. When you are travelling to other echinococcus free countries (Great Britain, Ireland, Malta), the 28-day rule cannot be used and instead the single treatment must be given to the dog 1-5 days before arriving in these countries. The 28-day rule is meant to make it easier for dog owners to travel on a regular basis. The purpose of the 28-day rule is to interrupt the echinococcus parasite’s life cycle with regular treatments. A minimum of three treatments are required (two before travelling and one after travelling) for proper usage of the 28-day rule.

Page last updated 6/1/2020