The UK Government warned owners of cats, dogs and ferrets that if it failed to secure a divorce deal with the European Union then their animals might have to get rabies jabs and discuss travel with vets months before travelling on holiday to the EU.
In the worst case scenario for pets owners, dogs, cats and ferrets might need health certificates, to have rabies jabs and travel plans would have to be discussed with a vet at least four months in advance before traveling to the EU.
That would mean someone wanting to take their pet to the EU on March 30, 2019, the day after Britain leaves the bloc, would have to discuss the trip with a vet before the end of November.
In its latest raft of no-deal technical notices, the UK Government said it was seeking discussions with the European Commission to allow the UK to become a “listed” third country.
Under the best case, this would mean little change in pet travel arrangements.
But if the UK crashes out without agreement and becomes an “unlisted” country on March 29, there could be a four-month turnaround for securing a health certificate proving pets are effectively vaccinated for rabies.
A failure to reach agreement on this issue could have significant implications for pet owners in Gibraltar who cross to Spain with their animals.
Pets that have had a blood titre test – which demonstrates they have enough of the rabies antibody – and whose vaccinations are up to date would not have to repeat the test before travel.
Those which have not had the blood test, but whose rabies vaccinations are up-to-date, would have to have the test done before travel, and there would then be a three-month waiting period to make sure no symptoms develop.
Pets without an up-to-date rabies vaccination will need to be vaccinated and then wait 30 days before having the blood test, with another three-month wait before they can travel to the EU.
Owners would have to get a health certificate issued by their vet for every trip to the EU, within 10 days before travel.
Then they would go though a specified point of entry in the country they are travelling to have their pet’s documents and identity checked.