Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Bring Your Dog to the UK (Part 2)

This article is a follow-up to Bring Your Dog to The UK (Part 1). The governmental changes made to the health certificate are pretty minimal, so I am continuing with this series to bring you a step-by-step guide for bringing your dog to the UK from Canada.

Step 2: Print the Form
So, now that you've read up on the steps you need to take, here's a link to the current form on the CFIA's website. One form is good for up to FIVE pets. Print the English form since that facilitates things in the UK.

Personally, I printed two copies of the form: the first as a rough draft to practice on, the second for the official version. Originally, I had trouble finding the instructions for filling out the form, so I've provided a link for that too, although now it seems to be within easy reach.
The British have this "strike-out" technique whereby, instead of circling, high-lighting, underlining, white-out-ing, they take a ruler and strike-out the non-relevant statement or phrase. Know this.
Step 3: The Microchip
Does your dog have a 15-digit microchip? According to the CFIA, here are your options:

If your dog is not micro-chipped, take an appointment with your vet and get it done ASAP. Make sure it's a 15-digit ISO world standard microchip.

If your dog has a microchip but it is not 15-digit, you will either need to a) have it re-chipped at the vet with the 15-digit ISO world standard microchip, b) travel with your own scanner for the microchip your dog does have, or c) check with the veterinary authorities at Heathrow Airport to see if they have the scanner your microchip requires.

If your dog has a clearly readable tattoo instead of a microchip, and it was applied before July 3, 2011, you don't need to get the microchip.

It's important to get the microchip issue straightened out right away, because all tests and vaccines that have a time-sensitive stamp for the certificate must be done after the correct 15-digit microchip is linked to your pet.

Step 4: Rabies Vaccination
The United Kingdom takes rabies very seriously. The NHS confirms there has not been a human-related case of rabies since 1902¹ due to severe quarantine laws and the introduction of the "Pet Travel Scheme" (which is what we're talking about).

So, the rabies vaccine must have been administered after the 15-digit ISO world standard microchip was put in. If the microchip changes, whether or not your pet has already had a rabies vaccine, it will need to be re-vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before entrance into the UK.

Keep the original official certificate of vaccination (or get a certified copy) from the administering vet, with the rest of your documents—it will be needed by the CFIA vet when you have the Health Certificate stamped. It must include the date of the vaccination, the name and manufacturer of the vaccine, the batch number of the vaccine, the from-to validity of the vaccination. It must also have the microchip/tattoo number, and the administering vet's official stamp/signature.

For those who are wondering, the rabies titer test is a blood test that measures your dog's current level of immunity to the disease.

Though apparently certain cities/countries have same-day blood test results, my vet did not have access to anything like that. Typically, 30 days after getting the initial rabies vaccine, your vet will take a blood sample from your dog and send it to the lab. Results can take anywhere from three to six months to be processed.

As per UK standards, a titer test is not required for dogs arriving from Canada.
Incidentally, my veterinarian clinic is French-speaking, and the main vet went out of his way to re-do the certificates in English, without me even asking. The entire staff of Clinique Veterinaire Samson is really devoted! Merci Dr. Dumont & Co.!

Estimated Timeline
To give you an idea of timeline, there is normally a one-week period between getting your pet micro-chipped and having the rabies vaccine given. Before a vaccine can be given, your pet will need a full check-up to determine his state of health. The microchip can be inserted during the routine health exam.

Since the rabies vaccine must be given at least 21 days prior to your arrival in the UK, and the Health Certificate must be stamped no more than 5 days prior to your arrival in the UK, your best bet would be to start the process at least two months before leaving. Trust me: Allow for errors.

If, like me, your dog was already micro-chipped and vaccinated months before your departure, you've got a bit of a head start.

Stay tuned for the next part of this guide, which will probably be ready by next week!

Foot Notes //
¹ Except in 2002, when a bat conservationist from Scotland succumbed to a type of rabies called European Bat Lyssavirus after being bit by a bat.