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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pet Travel Scheme

Quarantine means a six month kennel stay to ensure that a pet is not incubating one of a number of contagious diseases. For many years there was no alternative but quarantine for pets entering this country - the principal concern being to maintain our rabies - free state. However, the advent of improved identification techniques and better preventative medicines now means that the alternative Pet Travel Scheme is available, operated by DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs).

Requirements of the Scheme

Microchipping
A microchip must be implanted into a dog or cats scruff. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted by injection, usually, but not necessarily, by a veterinarian. Most pets react very little to this injection, but it may be a little painful. The chip carries a unique identity number which is logged along with the owners details onto a central data base. At every stage of the procedures listed the microchip will be checked by means of a scanner, which detects the individual number.
The cost of microchipping can vary between ?10 - ?30.

Vaccination
Dogs and cats should have a current vaccination against the common contagious diseases according to established UK protocols.

Rabies vaccination will need to be administered, This can be done at any time but will commonly be the first step of the Travel Scheme Program alongside microchipping. There are several rabies vaccination products licensed for use in the UK. Currently all of the vaccines are licensed to be used as a single injection. However, the chance of an inadequate response to the vaccination can be reduced by giving a second injection after a period of 2-4 weeks. Manufacturers data sheets state a booster requirement at one, two, or three year intervals. Unfortunately the requirements of European states differ, which often means that an annual booster is necessary.
Blood testing for post vaccination rabies antibodies
It is necessary to have proof of a positive response to the rabies vaccination. This is achieved by a blood test to measure anti-rabies antibodies. The test can now be taken by your veterinary surgeon from fourteen days after the rabies vaccination is administered. The sample must be sent to a government approved laboratory who will issue the submitting veterinary surgeon with a certificate stating the antibody response.
Re-entry to the UK is not permitted until six months after the date of a positive blood sample being taken, although pets can leave the UK at any time.

Passport
On receipt of a satisfactory result for the rabies response, a veterinary surgeon can supply your pets passport. This is a uniquely numbered book in which all details of microchip identification, vaccinations and blood testing are entered alongside records of administration of parasite treatments given prior to re-entry to the UK.

Parasite control
Because of the risk of contracting certain worms and ticks which can act as carriers for serious infectious diseases (Leishmaniasis, transmitted by sand flies and Ehrlichiosis, transmitted by Ticks)
it is necessary to treat pets for these parasites prior to re-entry. Several wormer products are available including Drontal Plus, and Milbemax tablets. Tick control can be achieved using Scalibor collars and Advantix, Advocate and Frontline spot on products. It is necessary for the administration of a suitable product to be witnessed by a vet 24-48 hours prior to re-entry.
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