7th November, 2018
It's the question on everybody's lips I'm sure - What will happen to pet travel to Europe after Brexit? In truth, nobody knows yet, but DEFRA (the goverment department under who's jurisdiction Pet Travel falls) have just published a series of possible scenarios depending on if we leave with no deal, a deal, and if we leave with a deal - the terms of the deal. If you are intending on travelling to the EU with your pet on or after 30th March 2019, then read on as there are important implications for you - you may need to take steps in getting your pet certified to travel before the end of this month as a contingency plan in case of a 'no deal' exit from the EU.
What are the current requirements?
Under the EU Pet travel Scheme, owners of dogs, cats and ferrets can travel with their animals to and from other EU countries provided they hold a valid EU pet passport. This is issued by an Official Veterinarian at least 21 days before travel to animals that have been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. Booster vaccinations against rabies need to be carried out in line with the manufacturers recommendations (the expiry date of the previous rabies vaccination is written in the pet passport). If the vaccination has expired, the pet must be re-vaccinated and the pet may only travel after 21 days have elapsed.
Dogs returning to the UK from countries that are not free of tapeworm (the exceptions are Norway, Finland, Ireland and Malta), must have an approved Tapeworm treatment administered by a vet between 24 and 120 hours before entering the UK.
For pets travelling after 29th March 2019: What are the three possible scenarios?
Scenario 1 - The UK becomes a Part 1 listed country:
There would be little change to the current pet travel arrangements, with only minor changes needed to the documentation for travel between the UK and the EU, and no change to health preparations.
Scenario 2 - The UK becomes a Part 2 listed country:
There would be some new requirements.
- As with current regulations, pets would need to be microchipped and have received the primary rabies vaccination on or after the date of microchipping and at least 21 days prior to the date of travel. Booster vaccinations would be given in line with the manufacturers guidelines. If the vaccine had expired a primary dose would need to be given and a further 21 day wait before travel was permitted.
- An Official Veterinarian would issue a Health Certificate confirming the pet had been identified (via microchip), vaccinated against rabies and that 21 days had elapsed since the date of vaccination.
- This document would be different from the current EU pet passport. It would be valid for ten days from the date of issue for entry into the EU, and for four months of onward travel within the EU. A new health certificate would need to be issued for each trip to the EU.
- On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with their pet would be required to report to a Travellers' Point of Entry.
Scenario 3 - The UK becomes an unlisted Third Country:
Should this happen, pet owners intending to travel to the EU from the UK would need to discuss preparations for their pet's travel with an Official Veterinarian at least four months in advance of the date they wish to travel. The preparations would be as follows:
- Pets would have to be vaccinated against rabies on or after the date of microchipping.
- A blood test for rabies antibodies at least 30 days after the date of vaccination.
- The results of the blood test must demonstrate an adequate antibody titre to allow the pet to travel. (If the blood test shows an insufficient antibody titre the pet will not be able to enter the EU. The above steps must then be repeated).
- Following an adequate antibody titre, pets would have to wait at least 3 months from the date of blood collection to the date of travel, so that an animal incubating rabies prior to, or around the time of vaccination, could be identified.
- An Official Veterinarian would issue a Health Certificate once a pet had undergone the preparations outlined above. This would be valid for ten days from the date of issue for entry into the EU, and for four months for onward travel within the EU. A new health certificate would be required for each trip to the EU.
- On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with with their pet would be required to report to a Travellers' Point of Entry.
Pets must continue to receive further booster vaccinations at intervals defined by the manufacturer, without any breaks. If a vaccine were to expire, the protocol - including vaccine titre test - would need to be started again.
What does this mean for you?
If you have no immediate plans to travel with your pet to the EU, then sit back, have a cup of tea and see what unfolds. If, however, you want to be sure that you can travel with your pet whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, then you need to arrange a visit for your pet at least four months before the date you wish to travel. For example, if you want to travel on 30th March 2019, you would need a visit no later than 28th November 2018.
Whilst DEFRA states it is confident that the UK will secure a deal with the EU, if there is no deal, it anticipates that based on the UK's current health status, it would be able to secure listed status to allow easier movement of pets between the UK and the EU. There is a chance, however, that it will not have secured this status on the day the UK leaves the EU (29th March 2019), meaning a gap of several months when pet owners will need to follow the additional steps listed to travel.
Or, give me a call on 07724 165030. We can have a chat and schedule an appointment to get the ball rolling if necessary.