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PET TRAVEL SCHEME – new requirements

This fact sheet explains how to prepare your dog or cat under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to enter or re-enter the UK from other countries. These new rules came into effect on 1st January 2012.

TRAVELLING TO THE UK
(a) TRAVELLING TO THE UK FROM EU COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES
List of the EU countries can be found on DEFRA website.
To enter or re-enter the UK from other EU countries without quarantine a pet must, in this order, be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. It must also be issued with an EU pet passport and there is a waiting period of 21 days following the Rabies vaccination before the pet can enter the UK.
(b) TRAVELLING TO THE UK FROM NON-EU COUNTRIES THAT ARE PART OF PETS
List of the NON-EU countries that are part of pets can be found on DEFRA website.
To enter or re-enter the UK from other EU countries without quarantine a pet must, in this order, be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. It must also be issued with an EU pet passport or official third country health certificate confirming microchip and vaccination. There is a waiting period of 21 days following the Rabies vaccination before the pet can enter the UK.
(c) TRAVELLING TO THE UK FROM UNLISTED COUNTRIES
To enter or re-enter the UK from other EU countries without quarantine a pet must, in this order, be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and blood tested. The blood test must be performed at least 30 days after the Rabies vaccination and the pet has to wait 3 months from the sampling date before it can enter the UK. Your pet requires only one blood test and 3 calendar month wait provided all subsequent rabies booster vaccinations are given by the required date.

The pet also has to be accompanied by an official third country health certificate (or EU pet passport if a pet is re-entering the UK) confirming microchip, vaccination and blood test.

Quarantine
Any pet entering the UK which does not meet all the Scheme rules must be licensed into quarantine. For example, if your pet is microchipped, vaccinated and blood tested but the three months rule hasn’t been complied with, your pet will need to spend the rest of the three months period in the quarantine. It will be released on the date it can be shown to comply with the rules. To license your pet into quarantine, you must get an import licence from Defra (for England), Scottish Government (for Scotland) or DARD (for Nothern Ireland) before it travels to the UK. The licence must accompany your pet when it travels (please see further information on DEFRA website). You must meet the costs of quarantine.
Where PETS procedures can be carried out
Your pet can be fitted with a microchip in any country. Rabies vaccinations, blood sampling, the tapeworm treatment and issuing of documents must all be carried out in either the UK or any of the listed countries.

PREPARING YOUR DOG OR CAT:
Step 1: The microchip
Your pet must first be fitted with a microchip. Ask the person fitting the microchip to check that its number can be read before and after it has been fitted. Get your vet to read the microchip every time you visit.

Step 2: The rabies vaccination
When to vaccinate
Pets being prepared to enter or re-enter the UK must be vaccinated in accordance with the recommendation of the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet (most manufacturers recommend the first vaccination at the age of 12 weeks; in some the puppy can be vaccinated at 8 weeks of age already, but then it needs the second dosage at 12 weeks of age).
They must be vaccinated after a microchip has been fitted. Get the vet to read the microchip number before the vaccination.
If your pet was vaccinated before the microchip was fitted, it will have to be vaccinated again. This is to make sure that it is correctly identified when vaccinated.

Vaccination record
When your pet is vaccinated, make sure that the vet accurately records the following details on its vaccination record and passport:
– its date of birth/age
– the microchip number, date of insertion and its location in the animal
– the date of vaccination
– the vaccine manufacturer, product name and batch number
– the date by which the booster vaccination must be given (i.e. the “Valid until” date). This date is calculated by reference to the validity period of the vaccine given in the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet.

Booster vaccinations
After your pet has been vaccinated and blood tested with a satisfactory result, it will need booster vaccinations. These must be given by the “Valid until” date in section IV of the passport or on the PETS certificate and be recorded on the vaccination record and in section IV of the passport.
If the booster date is missed, your pet will have to be vaccinated and blood tested again (if applicable). The 3-month rule will apply from the date the new blood sample is taken, provided the result is satisfactory. A vet (in Great Britain a Local Veterinary Inspector (LVI)) must complete the second box in section V of the passport.
Step 3: The blood test (only necessary if your pet is entering or re-entering the UK from an unlisted country)
After being vaccinated, your pet must have a blood test to make sure that the vaccine has worked.
The blood test has to be done 30 days after the vaccination and a blood sample has to be analysed at an EU-approved laboratory. Take your pet’s vaccination record with you when the blood sample is taken.
A satisfactory blood test result will show that the rabies antibody titre was equal to or more than 0.5IU/ml. Make sure your vet gives you a certified copy of the result, accurately showing the microchip number and the date the sample was taken, and keep it safe.
Your pet requires only one satisfactory blood test and 3 calendar months wait provided the subsequent rabies booster vaccinations are given by the required date. See step 2 if the date is missed.
If your pet fails its blood test it will need to be revaccinated and then the blood test must be repeated. The 3-month rule will apply.
If you have completed all the procedures prior to a change of the rules and the blood test was performed earlier than 30 days post vaccination, it will have to be repeated again if you’re planning to travel (and come back) to the unlisted countries.

Step 4: Documentation
After your pet has passed its blood test you must get an EU pet passport. If a blood test is not necessary or is to be carried out in another EU country, you can get a passport after your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.

How to get a passport
In Great Britain, the passport is issued by a LVI (Local Veterinary Inspector).
In other EU countries, a vet will issue the passport.
When you go to get the passport take your pet, take its vaccination record and blood test result (if appropriate). These documents must show your pet’s microchip number. Also take evidence of the date your pet was microchipped. Make sure that the vet correctly completes sections I to IV of the passport and V if appropriate.

Using the passport
To enter the UK, the passport must show that your pet has been microchipped, has a current rabies vaccination and has had a satisfactory blood test.
A passport may not be used enter or re-enter the UK under PETS until 3 calendar months have passed from the date the blood sample that gave a satisfactory test result was taken. You can then continue to use the passport to enter the UK provided your pet is revaccinated by the “Valid until” date in section IV.

Replacing the passport
When the passport is full, you should apply to a vet (in Great Britain a LVI) for a new one. Take the full passport and your pet with you.
Step 5: Treatment against parasites – applicable for dogs only
Before your dog can enter the UK, it must be treated against tapeworms. Any vet in the EU can give the treatment. You must not do it yourself. Make sure the vet reads your pet’s microchip before treatment.
Your dog must be treated not less than 24 hours and not more than 5 days before being checked in with an approved transport company to travel into the UK. The treatment must be given every time your pet travels to the UK.
If you are taking your pet abroad from the UK on a day trip, it will need to be treated in the UK not less than 24 hours and not more than 5 days before it is checked in for the return journey.
The product used for the tapeworm treatment must contain praziquantel (e.g. Drontal tablets)
The treatments are to stop the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis entering the UK. These parasites can carry diseases which can infect other animals and humans causing illness and sometimes death.
Please note that no treatment is required if travelling to the UK from Ireland, Finland or Malta.

Recording the treatment
After the treatment, the vet must fill in sections VII of the EU pet passport.
The date and time of treatment (using the 24-hour clock), the name of the product used and its manufacturer must be shown. The vet must also stamp and sign the passport. Make sure all these details are correctly recorded before you leave the vet.

TRAVELLING TO OTHER COUNTRIES FROM UK
European countries have now the same requirements as United Kingdom (microchip, rabies vaccination and 3 weeks waiting period). For travelling into other countries and especially countries that are not part of Pet Scheme, please call the Animal Health helpline for up to date requirements. Please be aware that after 1st January 2012 many countries outside the Pet Scheme changed the rules for bringing animals from the UK and there are additional requirements (e.g. blood test for Rabies antibodies).

FURTHER INFORMATION:
Animal Health
PETS
Website.
Helpline: 0870 241 1710 (Monday to Friday – 08.30 to 17.00 UK time)
E-mail: quarantine@animalhealth.gsi.gov.uk (enclose your postal address and daytime telephone number)
Fax: 01245 351162

Quarantine
Website.
Telephone: 01245 454860
E-mail: quarantine@animalhealth.gsi.gov.uk
Fax: 01245 351162