Pet travel scheme

Taking your dog, cat and ferret abroad

The Pet Travel Scheme's regulations changed on the 1st of January 2012. These changes had implications for those with dogs, cats or ferrets that already had pet passports, and also for those who may now be thinking about taking these species abroad and bringing them back to the U.K.

Previously, dogs, cats and ferrets returning to the U.K. from the E.U. or other certain listed countries could avoid quarantine provided they had met certain conditions. They had to have been microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies. Cats and dogs (not ferrets) then had to have a blood test (usually 3 months after the rabies vaccination) to make sure they had responded to the vaccine.

Provided a certain antibody level was reached, they could travel abroad 3 weeks after the rabies vaccine but could not return until 6 months after the blood test was taken (the '6-month rule'). 24-48 hours before re-entering the U.K. the pet also had to be treated for ticks and for tapeworms by a vet, and this was then signed off in the passport.

Since the changes at the beginning of 2012, if your dog, cat or ferret is travelling to the E.U. or certain listed countries, they must still be microchipped and given a rabies vaccine, but the pet passport can then be issued. There is now no requirement for a rabies blood test and no '6-month rule'. Animals can travel 21 days after the vaccine and then return to the U.K. at any point after this, provided the rabies vaccine is kept up-to-date.

The requirement for tick treatment prior to re-entry to the U.K. has been dropped. Tapeworm treatment prior to U.K. re-entry is now required only for dogs – the treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before the dog's scheduled arrival time in the U.K. Pets will still have to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

If your dog, cat or ferret is entering the U.K. from an unlisted, non-E.U. country, it must be microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies. These pets will require a blood test at least 30 days after vaccination to check antibody levels, and there will be a 3-month wait prior to re-entry to the UK. There is no requirement for tick treatment prior to UK entry, but tapeworm treatment will be required for dogs only. Again, the pet has to travel with an approved company on an authorised route. The rules for pets coming from unlisted countries and for species other than dogs, cats and ferrets will vary.

It does seem that the new regulations make it simpler for people to take their pets abroad, and to bring them back to the U.K., however, we would still advise that it is vital to think about the welfare implications of travelling with pets, such as stress, and also the importance of being aware of possible exotic diseases and parasitic infections which pets can be exposed to outside the U.K. The vets here can discuss possible prevention treatments dependent on the likely risk of coming across certain parasites e.g. ticks or tapeworms, or parasite vectors e.g. sandflies or mosquitoes in certain regions.

If you have any queries regarding the Pet Travel Scheme, please go to the DEFRA website or contact the DEFRA pet travel helpline on 0870 241 1710, or ourselves. We have L.V.I. vets (Local Veterinary Inspectors) at each clinic who can issue passports or export paperwork. Please allow plenty of time to make all the necessary arrangements.

For further information download the checklist from the Animal Welfare Foundation website, or view this information on taking your pets abroad.

Prevention of Infectious Diseases when traveling in Europe

When taking your pet on your travels you need to know about other infectious diseases not found in the UK. Your pet may also contact many other infections while abroad and signs may not be evident until you return home. Please take note of the following information and take all possible precautions.

Ealing Surgery
Leishmaniasis
Spread by Sand Flies
Most common in countries bordering the Mediterranean including South and West France, Portugal, and the Mediterranean such as the Canaries, Majorca, Corsica, Crete and Cyprus.
Prevention:
Do not let dogs sleep outside in the evening or overnight unless the sleeping area is protected by very small mesh
Use a repellant or insecticide, Scalibor collars, which can be ordered from the surgery, are effective for 6 months, these also have some effect against fleas and ticks for 4 - 6 months.
The collar should be applied 1 - 2 weeks prior to travelling
Plug-in or repellent coils may be used in conjunction with the collar
Ealing Surgery
Ealing Surgery
Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis
Spread by ticks
Bebesiosis is known to occur in France, especially south of the Loire, most of Southern Europe and as far as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands
Ehrlichiosis is known to occur in similar areas, especially in the Rhone Valley, the south coast of France and Corsica, Cyprus, Spain, Italy and Portugal
It occurs particularly in areas of forest and grass but has also been reported in built-up areas
It is most active in spring and autumn but may attach to dogs at any time of year
Prevention:
Frontline Spot On or spray is the most effective treatment but no treatment is 100% effective.
Frontline prevents ticks for 1 month
It is important to check your pet daily, especially around the face, chest and front legs, and remove any ticks found. It is advisable to use a tick remover to avoid leaving the head of the tick in the skin as this may become infected.
Ealing Surgery
Dirofilarisasis (Heart Worm)
Transmitted by many species of mosquito
Occurs in Europe from Northern France southwards
High levels have been reported in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Madeira and the Canary Islands and extremely prevalent in the Po Valley of Italy
Prevention:
Avoid mosquito bites by using repellents, mesh nets and window covers
Use monthly doses of Program Plus or Stronghold

Prevention of Infectious Diseases when traveling in Europe

When taking your pet on your travels you need to know about other infectious diseases not found in the UK. Your pet may also contact many other infections while abroad and signs may not be evident until you return home. Please take note of the following information and take all possible precautions.