International Pet Travel | University Animal Hospital NYC

Last year I posted about some of the nightmares that can come out of the process of international pet travel. With the summer months here I thought it was a good time to revisit the topic. For starters, international pet travel can be a complicated scenario.

Beyond all the stresses you have with traveling suddenly you are required to have documentation that’s specific to the country where you are going. This documentation might require proof of certain blood tests, proof of rabies vaccination by a specific time-frame, microchip information. It’s a hassle and there’s no getting around it. Importing your pet into another country means you are at the mercy of that particular country’s rules and regulations for pet transport.

International Pet Travel – France

For reference, let’s take a look at France and their requirements for importing a cat or dog.

Pet dogs, cats, and ferrets exported to a Member State of the European Union (EU) must be identified with a microchip compatible with ISO standard 11784 or 11785.  If a microchip does not comply with ISO standards, the appropriate microchip reader must accompany the pet.  Alternately, if a non-ISO compatible microchip was implanted, and the client is unable to travel with a microchip reader, then the accredited veterinarian can implant an ISO-compatible microchip.  The location and implant dates of both microchips must be documented on the health certificate.

Microchip implantation (whether ISO-compatible or not) must occur prior to or on the same day as rabies vaccination.  A rabies vaccination given prior to microchip implantation is considered invalid.  If the valid rabies vaccination expires before the booster is given, then the pet must be revaccinated. In both situations, the new vaccination is now considered to be the “primary vaccination.”  After a primary vaccination, the pet must wait 21 days before being eligible to enter the EU.

Rabies vaccination is not required for pet dogs, cats and ferrets under 12 weeks (3 months) of age.  Note that some EU Member States do not allow import of unvaccinated pets. Import of unvaccinated pets under 12 weeks of age must be authorized by the EU Member State. The exporter should contact the animal health authorities in the Member State for authorization, and documentation of authorization should be attached to the export certificate.  All dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of 12 weeks must be vaccinated for rabies.

Pet dogs, cats, and ferrets returning to the EU after traveling to the United States may be accompanied by an EU Pet Passport issued prior to leaving the EU. If a pet requires echinococcus treatment for travel to the UK, Ireland, Finland, Malta or Norway, the treatment may be entered in the Passport by an accredited veterinarian. An EU health certificate issued in the United States is not required, and APHIS should not endorse the Passport. If an animal needs a rabies booster while in the United States, this information cannot be entered into the EU Passport by a US veterinarian. A regular EU health certificate must be issued by the U.S. accredited veterinarian and endorsed by APHIS.

Does that seem a little complicated? It is. Fortunately the doctors here are experts at handling these documents and all of the treatments your fuzzy child might need in order to travel to the country of your choice. We handle hundreds of international health certificates each year and we take on the stress so you don’t have to.

No matter where you travel you will need an international health certificate from a USDA certified veterinarian (all of the doctors at University Animal Hospital are USDA certified) stating that your pet is healthy and fit for travel. Many countries in Europe use a standard form for this but in some cases there are specific papers required for a specific country. Just a tip — don’t be fooled by websites trying to sell you these documents for a fee. They can usually be obtained from the USDA website free of charge.

Beyond that there could be any number of requirements depending on the country of your destination. If you plan to travel with your pet call us to make an appointment with one of our expert veterinarians to take the stress away.

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