By Dr. Rebecca Jackson, DVM
In the previous post about the PCS-ing cat and dog, we looked at what all pets need to successfully relocate overseas. In this one, we will look at what only some pets will need.
Some pets will need:
- A FAVN blood test
- An import form (varies by country)
- Flea and tick preventative applied at the time of health certification
- Dewormer given at the time of health certification
FAVN blood test
Some countries require your pet have a FAVN blood test prior to entry to check their rabies antibody levels. Now here is the tricky part: each country has different requirements on when the test can be drawn (in relation to rabies vaccine administration), how long after it is drawn before your pet can travel into the country (without quarantine), and how long before the FAVN results expire.
For example, Japan requires 180 days between drawing the FAVN blood work and when your pet can enter the country. If 180 days has not passed, or you have to move before 180 days can pass, your pet is subject to quarantine in their facilities at your cost until the 180-day time frame has been met.
Microchip, check. Rabies vaccine, check. FAVN, check. Depending on where you are PCS-ing, there may be country-specific import forms to fill out or have completed on your behalf. Sometimes these forms will need to be submitted prior to your travel and other times you can carry them with you when you travel – or when your pet travels, if separate from you. Again, you will need to find out what these forms are for your particular destination.
Flea and tick preventative
Many countries will require that your veterinarian treat your pet with an approved flea and tick preventative at the time of the health certificate exam – even if you just applied the monthly dose yesterday. Plan ahead and bring your preventative to your health certificate appointment: this way, you don’t have to buy a dose at the appointment, and your pet won’t receive multiple doses for the month.
If your veterinarian finds fleas and/or ticks on your pet during the health certificate exam, your pet may not be able to travel with you. Word to the wise: make sure you routinely use flea and tick prevention well before travel. Let’s be honest, it’s best to use these preventatives year round in most areas of the world to prevent any last-minute delays.
It is important to understand that the rules and regulations for import of privately owned pets is determined by the country you are traveling into – and any country you travel through in order to get to your destination – and that country has the right to change their regulations at any time. Your veterinarian cannot possibly keep up-to-date on all these requirements, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service website (click on the “Import and Export” link) keeps tabs on most any country you will have to PCS. I recommend checking this website frequently as you prepare your pets’ papers for travel.
My number one suggestion: As soon as you have an idea where you might be relocating in the next year, start figuring out the requirements for your pet to PCS with you. It can take six months or more to meet the requirements for many countries, so give yourself time!
It can be confusing, frustrating and expensive to make sure that everything is in order for your pet to PCS. But it will be worth it when you get to your new station and your pet is there to greet you whenever you come home!
To more waggin’ and purrin’, rwkj.
Dr. Rebecca Jackson is a staff veterinarian for Petplan pet insurance. As the daughter of a veterinarian, Dr. Jackson grew up in a small animal vet practice in northern Indiana, and has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of veterinary medicine; and she loves it unconditionally.
Dr. Jackson received her Bachelors of Science degree from Purdue University in 2002, and then attended the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduating from WSU in 2006, Dr. Jackson moved to Boston to begin her adventures as a small animal veterinarian. She has practiced in Tacoma, WA, and Richmond, VA, where she served as a civilian veterinarian at the Fort Lee Veterinary Treatment Facility. Currently, in addition to her work at Petplan, Dr. Jackson works as a relief veterinarian for a handful of hospitals in the Philadelphia area. Dr. Jackson and her husband reside in Philadelphia with their daughter, their 9- year-old Golden Retriever and their 8-year-old cat.