Epsiprantel use in the prevention of Echinococcus multilocularis prevention in cats and dogs

Epsiprantel is a cestocidal drug in the isoquinoline group. It is closely related to praziquantel and has been demonstrated to have high efficacy in reducing and eliminating Echinococcus multilocularis infection in dogs (Eckert et al, 2001 Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2001 Mar-Apr;114(3-4):121-6). For the purposes of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) however, praziquantel rather than epsiprantel should be used for the following reasons:

1. It is not licensed for the treatment or prevention of E. multilocularis infection.

2. Although it has been found to be highly efficacious, Eckert et al found half the dogs treated to have residual worm burdens, posing a potential risk to pet owners and the E. multilocularis free status of the UK.

3. These residual worm burdens have led the American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics to class the efficacy of epsiprantel against E. multilocularis as only "potentially effective".

Until further studies have been carried out on the efficacy of epsiprantel against E. multilocularis, praziquantel will remain the drug of choice for this purpose.

Echinococcus multilocularis treatment on return to the UK

Echinococcus multilocularis remains a significant cause of morbidity and reduced life expectancy in mainland Europe. The compulsory praziquantel treatment 1–5 days before return to the UK has kept the UK free from this parasite but the increased treatment window and short half life of praziquantel means there is opportunity for reinfection. ESCCAP UK & Ireland therefore recommends that pets returning from foreign travel are given a further praziquantel treatment within 30 days of arrival back in the UK. In this way, the risk of the introduction of this deadly parasite is minimised.

Be aware of the new regulations for pet travel and how you now need to protect your pet from dangerous exotic parasites!

Further changes to the scheme came into force on the 29th December 2014. Please check the news section for updates.

Management of parasites is an important consideration for all responsible pet owners, however many people do not realise the different levels of protection needed when taking pets abroad. Pets can now enjoy largely free movement within Europe, which means that they can accompany owners on holiday and animals can be bought and adopted from abroad.

There is a constant and ever-growing threat of new parasitic infection migrating to the UK from abroad. Help to prevent these infections entering the UK by being vigilant and giving effective advice to people who are planning to take pets abroad or bring pets into the UK from abroad.

Topics to discuss with pet owners:

  • Where and when they are planning to travel
  • Whether their pet has to travel with them
  • For how long they will be away
  • How they plan to manage their pet, for example, will it be kept indoors, be able to roam freely, will it be outdoors at dusk and at night?
  • Their pet's individual lifestyle and circumstances
  • Ensuring that they comply with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)


To see the information about travelling pets on the pet owner section of this website please click here.


Effective development of a pet's travel protection plan might seem daunting, but ESCCAP UK & Ireland has developed resources to make it much less complicated:

Parasite Maps

* Parasite Maps

Use these maps to see which parasites you need to advise pet owners to protect their pets from when they travel abroad. Click Here

*COMING SOON! Travel Timeline

Use this timeline to develop an action plan for pet's travel requirements and parasite protection in order to ensure that pet owners do not receive any delays in their planned departures and arrivals.

Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)


Maximum 5 animals may travel (different rules for competing animals) No travel requirements between the UK and Ireland.



Pet travel from the UK and into EU/listed countries


In order to take your cat/dog/ferret out of the UK and into an EU/listed country your pet must:


  • be microchipped
  • be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before entry into the EU/listed country (either a booster - provided it is given on time, or a full vaccine if required)
  • have an EU pet passport

Pet travel into the UK from EU/listed countries

In order to take your cat/dog/ferret out of an EU/listed country and into the UK your pet must:

  • be microchipped
  • be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before entry into the UK (either a booster - provided it is given on time, or a full vaccine if required)
  • have an EU pet passport
  • dogs only) be treated for tapeworms by a vet not less that 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (between 1 and 5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK
  • there is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment but this is still strongly recommended
  • arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company or on an authorised route

If staying abroad more than a few weeks: Owners must check residency requirements, i.e. after 3 mo in France, registration, an ISO standard microchip and yearly rabies vaccination are required.


Useful downloads:

Travelling Pets Row