You may have heard recently of some updated advice to pet owners from the government, in case of a no-deal Brexit. There’s been a lot of slightly hysterical headlines in the pet press and on social media about this – however, we’ve boiled down all the new information into a simple checklist for you!
- Does this apply to me?
It depends whether you are intending to travel into the EU after 28th March 2019. If you don’t have any plans to go to a EU country after this date, then this doesn’t affect you. However, if you are planning to, or might plan to, then it may.
- What’s changing?
If there is a no-deal Brexit next spring, the UK will automatically become an “unlisted third country”. This means that all the regulations about importing animals intothe EU will apply to animals moving from the UK to France, Eire, or indeed any other EU country. At the moment, these regulations do not apply for movement within the EU, except for moving from the mainland to the UK or Ireland, plus a couple of other rabies-free countries.
- Does my pet need a rabies vaccine?
Yes – just as now, your pet will need regular vaccination with a licensed rabies vaccine. The vaccination rules aren’t changing, so they will still need an initial vaccine, then boosters to “top it up”.
- Will I need to be able to prove that the rabies vaccine has “taken”?
Yes – at the moment, you don’t have to. However, in the event of a no-deal you will not be permitted to enter an EU country without proof that the dog, cat or ferret is not only vaccinated, but that the vaccine has been effective. This is in the form of a blood test for rabies antibodies. Research suggests that a level of 0.5IU/ml is sufficient to prevent rabies infection, and any pet that does not reach that level is considered to have “failed” the test. They must then be revaccinated and retested.
The blood test needs to be taken at least 30 days after the last vaccination – therefore, if your pet needs a booster, it needs to be done by the end of November. If the pet passes the blood test, one of our Official Vets (the vets who are certified as able to issue or sign your Pet Passport) will need to enter the details into their passport. Once a blood test has been recorded, as long as your pet’s vaccine is boosted before it expires, it doesn’t look like you will need another test.
However, there is a 3 month wait after the blood test before you can enter the EU. So, you MUST have a successful blood test by the end of December.
- Is my pet fit to travel?
At the moment, there’s no need to prove this. However, in the event of a no-deal, your pet will need a health check in the 10 days before they travel. Again, this needs to be done by one of our Official Vets, and they will then issue you with a Health Certificate, which you will need to provide when you enter any EU country with your pet.
- Do I still need to do tapeworm treatment?
Yes, the requirements for returning to the UK will not change. You will still need to treat for tapeworms 24-120 hours before re-entering the UK.
- Will this definitely happen?
No – the government has said they are committed to signing a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, and if that happens, it is unlikely that there will be any changes in the near future. To be honest, even in the event of a no-deal, it probably won’t be that long before the UK gets “listed third country” status, meaning the regulations are relaxed again. However, that wouldn’t be much help to anyone who got stuck in the middle!
- How can I find out more?
You can read the government’s APHA Guidance, or give us a ring and talk to one of our vets!