Important update on pet travel to Europe post Brexit
At St Vincents Vets we have helped many people over the years ensure their pets can travel safely to European destinations and return to the UK satisfying the various regulations in place. This is a complex area made more so by an amount of uncertainty with Brexit looming. A recent announcement concerning the measures that may be required for travelling with pets in the event of no deal post Brexit have led to numerous enquiries and anxiety amongst owners at our practice.
I must stress at this point, as with similar concerns in other professions, this announcement is a ‘what if’ worst case scenario. Nonetheless it is important that anyone intending to travel with their pet next year contacts their veterinary practice to discuss options as soon as possible. As you may remember in a recent article I discussed the current regulations for the travel scheme, which had until now become a relatively simple procedure where we insert or check an existing microchip, vaccinate with a licensed rabies vaccine and issue a passport valid for travel to and from approved countries 3 weeks after the vaccination date.
The stark warning should there be no deal post Brexit is that we will need to revert to a protocol not dissimilar to the way we used to issue passports, requiring chipping, a rabies vaccination and then subsequently a blood test to prove the vaccination was effective. After a mandatory waiting period the total time from starting the process to being valid for travel would then be four months, and not three weeks as it is currently.
There are two main issues here. Firstly nothing may change at all, current passports and systems will continue to be recognised by both sides and we can carry on with our current protocols. Or should it come to the requirement as detailed above being instated, all existing pet passports would become void for travel as regards UK pets to and from Europe. This includes passports issued in European countries, not just the UK, and could potentially leave a lot of pet owners in distress at time of travelling if they haven’t prepared for these new rules.
At this point I must reiterate that this is a potential outcome in the event of a no deal Brexit, and no one knows for certain what may actually happen in this scenario. Some practices are already advising all new passport applications as well as all existing passport holders to get the rabies vaccination and subsequent blood test as soon as possible, especially if they intend to travel in the Spring to avoid any complications. This is one of the options we are offering our clients.
In summary please contact the practice on 0118 9793200 to discuss any concerns you have about travelling abroad with your pet. We will be able to cover the above issue, as well as the additional requirements for returning the UK.
Veterinarian Michael Morrow owns and runs St Vincents Veterinary Surgery, an independent practice providing personal care for all your pets. Information in this article is intended as guidance only and is not a replacement for veterinary advice from your surgery.