The UK’s largest membership body for the veterinary profession is calling on the government to set out changes to pet travel rules as soon as possible to help vets manage demand from pet owners.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which represents over 18,000 vets across the UK, said that 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 today to help the UK prepare for the end of the transition period and will be making a speech this afternoon.

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.

Speaking to the Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning (Monday 13 July), 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 thirty days and take a blood test, then provided the test comes back as a positive titre 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.”

Ms Dos Santos also warned that it may take longer for owners to get an appointment for your 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.”

In a Part 1 or Part 2 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 ten days ahead of each time you travel. 

The Government guidance on pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021 is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit.


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