Defra re-launching pet travel campaign
Vets in practice and in particular OVs will wish to be aware that Defra have re-launched their campaign to encourage pet owners to revisit official advice about travelling to the EU with their pets after the UK leaves the EU.
If the UK leaves without a deal on 31st October, pet owners are being advised that will need to take some additional steps to ensure they can still travel with their pet. This includes a blood test a minimum of 30 days after its last rabies vaccination (whether that’s a booster or initial vaccination) and a wait of three calendar months before travel.
If pet owners are planning to travel from November onwards, they are being advised to contact their vet at least four months in advance of their travel date. For example, those wishing to travel to the EU on 1 November 2019 should discuss requirements with their vet by the 1 July at the latest.
All the guidance on pet travel has been available since November 2018, so many pet owners and vets will already be familiar with that they need to do and some pet owners may already have taken action.
In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, pet owners are being reminded that all UK pets travelling to the EU will need to have an up-to-date rabies vaccination and a blood test to demonstrate sufficient levels of rabies antibody. The blood test needs to be carried out a minimum of 30 days after its last rabies vaccination (whether that’s a booster or initial vaccination) and a minimum of three calendar months before their travel date.
Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, said:
“This is a reminder for pet owners of our practical and straightforward advice for pet travel if the UK were to leave the EU in a no-deal situation.
“Those pet owners who wish to travel with their pets immediately after 31 October 2019 should consult with their vet as soon as they can. This is about planning ahead to ensure their pet has the correct health protection documented and in place for all possible Exit scenarios.
“We continue to be in contact with vets to highlight this issue and they are expecting pet owners to consult with them and plan ahead.”
Pet owners can stay up to date with the latest advice on pet travel on GOV.UK or by searching ‘pet travel’.
Defra have made digital assets available which vets in practice may find useful and can share more widely. These include posters, flyers/check lists and social media materials and they can be accessed here.
Advice to OVs
APHA have issued specific advice to OVs to remind them of pet travel requirements. If any BSAVA member who is an OV has not received this information they should contact APHA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: +44 (0)370 241 1710.
Key information is available on the on the Vet Gateway in particular regarding rabies.
In a no deal scenario, EU pet passports issued by UK OVs would no longer be valid. Instead, a pet travelling from the UK to the EU would need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC).APHA will contact OVs again when they need to start ordering AHCs instead of EU pet passports for travel after 31 October 2019. An AHC is valid for travel to the EU for up to 10 days after issue. More guidance is available on the Vet Gateway.
Until the UK leaves the EU, pets can continue to travel to the EU under the current pet travel rules using the current EU pet passport.