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Pet Passports

Taking your pet abroad?

Since the PETS Travel Scheme was introduced it is now possible to travel within the European Union without the need for quarantine as long as all the requirements have been complied with.

This scheme covers dogs, cats and ferrets. There have been changes to the scheme and new passports since 29th December 2014 but if you have an old style passport it will still be valid.

Rules of the PETS Travel Scheme:

  • All pets are required to be microchipped (see file on microchipping).
  • Rabies vaccine can then be given as long as the pet is over 12 weeks old.
  • You are required to wait a full 21 days before travel.
  • Travel must take place via an approved route and by an authorised transport company. See here for an up to date list.
  • Dogs are required to be treated with specific wormer 24 to 120 hours (one to five days) before return to the UK and passport updated. (Not required for Finland, Ireland or Malta).
  • Passports are valid for the lifetime of your pet but you are required to ensure the rabies vaccinations are up to date. At this time, the rabies vaccine lasts 3 years. Reminders are not sent, so it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure this is up to date. Please note, however, some countries require an annual rabies vaccination. Please ensure you are aware of any individual countries import requirements.

Other Considerations
Providing your pet with a passport is not the only consideration you should have before travel.

  • Ensure your Pet Health Insurance is valid for the countries you intend to travel to. If you have an emergency or your pet becomes poorly, then make sure you know the details of a local vet.
  • Climate is often warmer in other countries. Careful consideration should be given as to whether your pet can cope with this heat.
  • There are a number of different diseases that require prevention and it is advised that you start this before travel. The PET Travel Scheme used to require tick control as part of its requirements. Although it is no longer a requirement, we would advise you still prevent ticks.
  • You must ensure that specific import requirements for each country are also fulfilled. This is the client’s responsibility to check details on the countries government website.

Diseases you may encounter:

Babesiosis:

  • Transmission is via certain ticks
  • Exists in southern and central Europe though may extend north with climate change
  • Affects red blood cells and causes symptoms including fever, anaemia, jaundice and, if untreated, death

Ehrlichia:

  • Transmission via certain ticks
  • Worldwide including southern Europe
  • Causes variable signs including depression, fever, swollen glands bleeding
  • Can become chronic and cause arthritis, weight loss and neurological signs including fits

Hepatazoonosis:

  • Parasite transmitted via infected ticks
  • Global in warmer climates and countries bordering the Mediterranean

Leishmania:

  • Transmitted by sandflies
  • Mediterranean coastal areas and tropics
  • Wooded areas
  • Causes skin inflammation, infection and, if untreated, it is fatal

Heartworm:

  • Transmitted by certain mosquitoes
  • Worldwide distribution including southern Europe
  • Immature worms enter blood stream and develop in blood vessels close to the heart
  • Causes weakness, coughing, weight loss, right sided heart failure or sudden death for haemorrhage

Canine Brucellosis:

  • Transmitted by contact with infected birth materials or discharge
  • Found in USA/Canada, South America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe
  • Causes late miscarriage and stillbirth in pregnant bitches and reduced fertility in male dogs

Rabies:

  • Caused by virus that affects most mammals including humans
  • Transmission usually by bite from infected animal
  • Virus targets nervous system and is usually fatal once symptoms develop

Tapeworm:

  • This is a zoonotic disease caused by the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis
  • Found in northern hemisphere
  • Dogs/cats can become infected by ingestion of infected intermediate hosts, i.e. rodents or by ingestion of eggs in infected faeces
  • Often pets show no clinical disease but will excrete eggs. Humans can be accidentally infected by ingestion of eggs
  • The disease can be fatal in humans due to cysts forming in the liver or brain which are very difficult to treat. At this point, Echinococcus is not present in the UK

Controlling these diseases
As part of the Pet Passport regulations both Rabies and Echinococcus are controlled. This is why it is vital your pets Rabies vaccinations are up to date. The UK has been Rabies free since 1992. Equally, it is important your dog is treated with praziquantel by a vet between 24 and 120 hours (1-5 days) before returning to the UK to help prevent Echinococcus becoming endemic in UK wildlife. This must be recorded, by an official vet, on your passport.

Babesia, Ehrilichia and hepatzoonosis are all transmitted by ticks. We would advise the use of a prescription tick treatment monthly on your pet. It should be applied before you leave and monthly whilst you are abroad. Check your pets daily for ticks and us a tick remover to take them off immediately if found and try to avoid tick areas, i.e. woodland and areas where livestock graze.

To prevent Leishmania, avoid high risk areas. Consider leaving your pet at home if travelling to these areas. Keep pets in one hour before dusk and until one hour after sunrise. Consider the use of sandfly repellents at least 3 weeks before you travel. Remember repellent alone cannot protect your pets from sandflies. Please discuss with us if you are travelling in these areas. To prevent Heartworm avoid mosquito infected areas and consider use of heartworm prevention up to 3 weeks before travel, whilst away and at least a month after your return.

To prevent Canine Brucellosis, avoid contact and/or isolate any bitch that has miscarried or had a stillbirth.

Travel to non EU countries
If the country you intend to travel to is not in the European Union, it is important you seek up to date advice on the requirements of that country. This is the client’s responsibility. Some countries will require import and export permits and possibly blood samples etc. Please allow adequate time before travel to ensure all requirements can be completed.

All details are up to date as of July 2015.


If you require any further information or advice, please contact your local practice.

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