August 20th 2020

More Clarity Urged on Pet Travel Post-Brexit

In our latest blog we document recent calls from the British Veterinary Association for the government to provide more clarity on the issues of Post-Brexit pet travel. 

Currently in the UK, as part of the EU, the adoption of harmonised rules on travelling with pets has made it easier for EU citizens and their dogs, cats or ferrets to enjoy the freedom of movement within the Union. This significant step was made possible by dramatic advances made in the fight against rabies.

For movement between EU countries or from non-EU countries, vaccination against rabies documented in the pet passport or the animal health certificate is the sole requirement for dogs, cats and ferrets to travel across EU borders, with certain exceptions.

Speaking to the Today Programme on Radio 4 BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said:

‘In order for owners to take their pets abroad, they need to start thinking about it now. If we end up being an unlisted country cats, dogs and ferrets need to have a rabies vaccine. We then need to wait 30 days and take a blood test, then provided the test comes back as a positive result you then have to wait three months from the date of sampling to be able to travel freely. 

‘In all, that’s a four-month leeway period. If you are thinking of travelling after the transition period ends, I would suggest that you need to speak to your vet soon.’

Owners may have to consult their vet at least four months ahead of trips to ensure that their cat, dog or ferret has had all the necessary vaccines, checks and documentation issued ahead of travel after the end of the transition period. 

Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has announced a new campaign to help the UK prepare for the end of the transition period.

From 1 January 2021, requirements may change depending on whether the UK is granted Part 1 or Part 2 listed status or if it is unlisted. 

In an unlisted country scenario, pets need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, and have a blood test at least 30 days following the vaccination. Owners will then need to wait a further three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before they can travel with their pet. They will also need an animal health certificate setting out the details of the test and results issued by an official veterinarian prior to travel.

Ms Dos Santos also warned that it may take longer for owners to get an appointment for their pet, as vets are following strict social distancing requirements to keep colleagues and clients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and some staff remain on furlough. She said: ‘The challenge will be that vet visit. The profession is still reeling, as everyone is, from the effects of COVID and it will take you longer to get an appointment. You will absolutely get an appointment, but it just may not be as soon as it would have been before COVID. We are asking the government to let the veterinary profession know as soon as possible what we need to do.’

As per government guidance on pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, in a Part 1 or Part 2 listed scenario, pets would need to be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days ahead of travel and have tapeworm treatment if required.

A Part 2 scenario would also require for an Animal Health Certificate to be issued no more than 10 days ahead of each time you travel.

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