The Pet Travel Scheme – Pet Passport

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is in place to enable you to take your pet on holiday with you to certain Listed EU countries, without the need for 6 months quarantine. PETS applies to dogs, cats and ferrets only and there are very strict rules that must be adhered to in order to avoid your pet being placed in quarantine for a period of 6 months.

For up to date information and requirements please visit Taking Your Pet Abroad

Hazards Of Pet Travel

Climate – Pets that were born and bred in the UK may experience difficulties in extremes of climate unless allowed time to acclimatise in other countries. Very hot or very cold weather or high altitudes can cause distress and illness, so please ask your vet for advice before you travel, particularly if your animal is young, elderly or has a chronic medical condition.

Your animal may be exposed to a number of potentially fatal diseases in different countries and it is important to consider the risk of these before you travel. You can help to keep your pet safe by applying preventative treatments such as Sprays, Spot-ons or Collars, so we recommend you discuss this with your vet before travelling.

Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease that is found on the Mediterranean coastal area of Southern Europe and is transmitted by sandflies. Signs of leishmaniasis may take a few months to several years to appear after a visit abroad.  Affected animals develop a fever, sow signs of hair loss, weight loss and develop skin sores and nail disease.  As the disease progresses it leads to anaemia, polyarthritis and also eye, liver and kidney disease.

Babesiosis is transmitted by ticks and is caused by the Babesia organisms that invade, multiply in and destroy red blood cells. Symptoms include fever, anaemia, weakness, lethargy, weight loss, anorexia and blood in the urine.  Infected animals can die within a couple of days of the clinical signs appearing and animals from the UK are particularly vulnerable because they have no natural immunity to the disease.

Erlichiosis is transmitted by ticks and is seen throughout the world. Symptoms can include immunosuppression, depression, fever, swollen glands, nose bleeds, lameness, inflammation around the eyes, arthritis, neurological disease, convulsions and haemorrhages because the blood clotting ability is effected.

Heartworm is transmitted by mosquito bites and is common in Southern Europe, the USA and tropical countries. a mosquito bites it transfers the larval form of the heart worms into the animal’s blood, they then go on to develop inside the heart and the lungs. Symptoms can take several years to appear and include a soft cough, tiredness, weakness, loss of weight and condition. Eventually heart failure may ensue, leading to death.

Hepatozoonosis is transmitted by ticks, bloodsucking insects and mites. It is commonly found in Europe, Africa and Asia, with symptoms including fever, lethargy, weight loss, anaemia and secondary liver, lung and kidney disease. The disease when found in the Southern States of America can cause severe pain, lameness, paralysis and abscesses in the muscles.

Current Pet travel Scheme Regulations

Under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, owners of dogs, cats and ferrets can travel with their animals to and from EU countries provided they hold a valid EU pet passport.

Before a pet can travel from the UK to an EU country for the first time, it must be taken to an Official Veterinarian (OV) at least 21 days before travel. The OV will ensure the animal has a microchip and rabies vaccination, before issuing an EU pet passport, which remains valid for travel for the pet’s lifetime or until all of the treatment spaces are filled.

On its return to the UK, the pet has its microchip scanned (to confirm its identity) and passport checked (to ensure it corresponds with the microchip and treatment requirements are met).

Dogs returning to the UK  must have an approved tapeworm treatment administered by a vet 24–120 hours before arrival in UK.  The treatment must

  • Be administrated by a vet
  • Contain Praziquantel to be effective against Echinococcus tapeworm

Rabies booster vaccinations are given every 1-3 years depending on the life of the vaccine and where you are travelling to and from.

How Might Brexit Affect Pet Travel?

The simple answer is that no one really knows at the moment, but according to the DirectGov website there are a few possible scenarios to consider

  1. The UK becomes a Part 1 listed country.  There would be little change to the current pet travel arrangements and only minor changes needed to documentation for travel between the UK and EU. This means no change for pet owners from what they currently need to do in terms of health preparations.
  2. The UK becomes a Part 2 listed Country.  The current arrangements would remain the same, but pets would need a veterinary health certificate to be issued before travelling that would be issued at least 21 days after the rabies vaccination and within 10 days of travel; the certificate would likely only be valid for 4 months.
  3. The Uk becomes an unlisted county . In this case, a blood sample would need to be taken 30 days after vaccination with Rabies, the pet would not be able to travel until it had a certificate with a required antibody titre from an approved laboratory and 3 months had elapsed since the date of blood sampling. The pet would also require a veterinary health certificate and would have to enter the EU via a designated travellers point of entry.

Because these outcomes are all a possibility at the moment we recommend that you give serious consideration to rabies blood sampling if you are likely to want to take your pet abroad after Brexit. It is entirely up to you what you chose to do, but we recommend that if you have a holiday booked and you decide not to have the rabies blood sampling done, that you consider alternative holiday arrangements for your pets just in case.

You can keep up with changes as they happen on the Gov.uk website.

If you would like to register your pet for the Pet Travel Scheme please contact us on 0118 9574488 for an appointment.