Unfortunately, even at this late stage, there is no definite information about how pet travel to the EU will be affected from January next year.
There are still 3 possible outcomes with the UK becoming an unlisted country or a Part 1 / 2 listed country. What documentation you will need and what steps you will need to take to travel with your pets abroad will depend on which of these categories the UK become to the rest of the EU.
WORST CASE SCENARIO – WE BECOME AND UNLISTED COUNTRY
This means that pets require a blood test to show their rabies protection is adequate. The test can be taken at any time after vaccination. However, as rabies vaccinations are only given every 3 years, levels may not show sufficiently high to ‘pass’ the test if the sample is taken a long time after vaccination, despite immunity being present and effective.
The ideal time to take a blood sample to (nearly always) ensure a ‘pass’ is approximately a month after vaccination.
Those pets who are already vaccinated and have a PETS passport would require a blood test and a ‘pass’ achieved. Those that fail would need to be revaccinated and retested a month later. To maximise your chance of a successful pass it is often best to revaccinate and test a month later to ensure high levels of immunity.
If the test is passed, then you will have to wait 3 months before you can travel with your pet. The 3 months is timed from the date the blood test is taken which must be at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. This means that it could be a 4 month wait until your pet can travel.
Other changes may well be the need to obtain an Animal Health Certificate from your vet every time you travel abroad rather than using the same passport each time. There will also be designated points of entry to other countries rather than the full choice of routes and entries that we have currently.
It will also be necessary to keep rabies vaccinations up to date and not let them lapse / go overdue as this could mean repeating the blood test.
Hopefully some or all of this won’t be needed if we get an agreement and we become a listed county.
If you plan to travel early in 2021 and want to be sure of no issues, it may be worth planning and doing some of this now so that your plans will not be interrupted.
Some clients went through this process last year and this will not need to be repeated.
Ideally, we wait and see how the situation is resolved and make plans for paperwork and travel later based on the decision. Perhaps not planning to travel in the first few months of 2021 would be prudent.
In the meantime if you have any queries please contact the Practice or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to help.
Ernest Armstrong MRCVS