Travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland

Due to Brexit, there have been some changes to what is needed before you can take your pet to the EU, as well as to Northern Ireland.

The main change is that you can no longer use your pet passport to travel to the EU or Northern Ireland, unless it was issued in one of these countries. If it was issued in England, Wales or Scotland, you will need an animal health certificate. These can only be used for one journey.

When travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland, your pet needs:

  1. An animal health certificate, unless you have a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland
  2. A microchip
  3. A valid rabies vaccination, at least 21 days before you travel
  4. Tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta.

If you are returning to the UK, you must visit a vet in the country you are visiting to have a tapeworm treatment administered one to five days before you travel. This does not apply if you are returning from Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta.

These requirements also apply to assistance dogs.

The animal health certificate is a time consuming piece of documentation to complete, and requires an examination from your vet no more than ten days before you travel. Please give us plenty of notice to ensure that we can fit you in, as if we do not have available appointments, you will not be able to travel without it. Contact us if you have any questions.

For anyone wishing to travel to an unlisted third country then please contact the surgery for more details as different rules will apply and this process and production of associated documents can take up to a minimum of three months. We also advise that you visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website for full information.

Other things to check before you go include the approved transport companies and authorised routes for travel. Do you have pet insurance? Is your accommodation pet-friendly? Also consider what breed of dog you own, as countries can vary in what breeds they class under dangerous dog acts.

For further information visit:

www.gov.co.uk

www.defra.gov.uk

Or telephone Pets Health Line on 0370 241 1710.

Tick and insect-borne diseases

Leishmaniasis: This is an infectious disease transmitted by sandflies. It has a variable incubation period; sometimes symptoms can take years to develop. The disease is a chronic one with periods of relapse and remission. Clinical signs include hair and weight loss, dermatitis, diseased eyes, liver and kidneys. If it is not treated then the disease is fatal, but at the same time it unfortunately incurable. There is now a vaccine available for leishmaniasis, as well as the spot-on and collar type preparations that you can purchase from the vets. This disease is of particular concern as it is also zoonotic (can be transmitted from animal to human). Leishmaniasis is found along the Mediterranean coasts, South America, the Middle East and the tropics.

Dirofilariasis (heartworm): This disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. The animal is infected with third-stage larva, which then grow into adult worms that migrate to the heart and lungs, therefore causing breathing difficulties and heart failure. However, heavy or long-term infestations may result in sudden death. This whole process can take about six months and clinical signs may not become evident for a year or so. Again there is no vaccine but by using a repellent that you can purchase from the vets you can prevent this disease. Heartworm disease is common in the Mediterranean regions.

Babesiosis: Babesiosis is transmitted by ticks. Clinical signs include fever, weakness, anaemia and lethargy. Sudden death can occur. Animals which survive the initial infection usually remain subclinically infected and can suffer stress induced relapses. Treatment is difficult and rarely curative, therefore prevention and control of the disease relies on control of the tick vector. It is found throughout Europe and in adjacent countries, being particularly prevalent in France.

Ehrlichiosis: This disease is spread again by the tick. It can be acute in onset, when it is often fatal, or develop into chronic illness. Most dogs will not survive, however healthy carriers can also exist. Clinical signs are fever, anorexia, dyspnoea, oedema, vomiting, nose bleeds and neurological signs. Prevention relies on tick control. Ehrlichiosis can be found in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Hepatozoonosis: Another disease spread by ticks. Clinical signs include fever, lethargy, weight loss, anaemia and kidney and lung disease. Prevention again is with tick control. This disease can be found in Southern Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.