If you wish to bring your pet with you to a foreign country, most countries require some sort of health certificate for entry. The individual regulations that have been negotiated between the U.S. and each country can be found here.
We are happy to consult for our established patients on what needs to be done to satisfy the requirements. The requirements vary by country and most are very specific as to the timing of items such as microchip placement (if required), Rabies vaccination and the issue date for the certificate. When you contact us, at a minimum we will need to know the country you wish to travel to, your expected date of travel, the date of microchipping, and a full Rabies vaccine history. If we did not place the microchip or administer the most recent Rabies vaccine, you will need to provide us with the prior records and Rabies certificates. In some cases we may need multiple prior Rabies vaccine certificates.
Most countries require that the health certificates issued by our USDA Accredited veterinarians also be endorsed by a federal USDA government veterinarian. This can be accomplished either by Fedexing your certificates to the USDA office in Albany or with an in person appointment at the USDA office at JFK. It is best to allow 4-5 business days for transit + endorsement of your certificate if you are sending it to Albany. If you do not have enough time for that, you will need to make an appointment for endorsement at JFK. Recently a couple of countries have started to permit electronic endorsement (Israel, Colombia).
- How to Submit Your Health Certificate for Endorsement (via Fedex, UPS)
- USDA Office at JFK (for in-person endorsement)
Some countries require Rabies antibody testing (also called Rabies titer or FAVN). This is when blood is drawn to prove that your pet is immune to Rabies. This test must be performed by a specialized approved laboratory and typically has a 3-4 week turn around time. Expedited testing is available for a significant cost. This is by no means a complete list but countries our clients frequently travel to that requires Rabies antibody testing are: Israel, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Turks & Caicos, and Barbados. If the requirements above indicate that your pet needs a Rabies titer for travel please contact us as a soon as possible prior to travel to permit time for this testing.
Lastly, if your pet is from Europe and has a European Pet Passport with a valid Rabies vaccine that was administered by an EU veterinarian, we likely do not need to issue any health certificate for travel (deworming may be necessary). However, please understand that U.S. veterinarians are not permitted to enter new vaccines in the passport so if they are close to expiry you should be sure to have your pet's vaccines updated while you are in Europe if you wish to continue travelling back and forth with your pet. If your pet's Rabies vaccine has expired and needs to be updated in the U.S. the passport is not valid for travel and a health certificate will need to be issued and endorsed.