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Vaccinations And Getting Your Dog Ready For International Travel

pet passports

Vaccinations And Getting Your Dog Ready For International Travel


Many oil and energy industry employees frequently go to the Middle East. The decision to bring a pet along on a trip is made by many people, even though doing so can be both time-consuming and unpleasant.

Because the requirements for transporting pets differ from country to country and are set by the governments of those countries, you must be familiar with several essential particulars to get your canine, feline, or exotic pet ready for foreign travel.

Dogs are traveling the world at a rate that has never been seen before, thanks to increased public awareness of the pet passport scheme (introduced by the EU in 2001) and increased immigration due to the ongoing financial crises over the past few years.

The degree of difficulty that you will have in getting your pet ready for the trip will be directly proportional to the location of your final destination. Below, we will discuss some key distinctions between the more common routes.

Even though transporting our animals around the United Kingdom, Ireland, and other countries in the European Union is relatively straightforward, anyone venturing further afield is strongly encouraged to use the expertise of a professional pet delivery service.

These specialized agencies will ensure that your pet satisfies the requirements of the country to which you are traveling and the country from which you originated.

They also generally have a good working relationship with the airlines, which have their requirements regarding the dimensions of transport cages and the veterinary certifications that must be obtained.

Pet Passports

Even though the European Union pet passport is not universally recognized in other parts of the world, acquiring one is a simple process.

pet passports

Once obtained, it offers a document that can contain a record of all of the veterinary certificates and preventative treatments that were received in preparation for transport.

Your usual veterinarian can issue your dog’s passport; the only prerequisite is that your dog must first be microchipped.

In this procedure, a very little chip is injected under the skin of the neck in the same way that numerous other injections, such as immunizations, are given.

The microchip not only serves as a permanent form of identification, which is beneficial in the event that your pet is lost or stolen, but it also guarantees that the passport details pertain to your dog.

Fortunately, most dogs are now microchipped when they are still puppies, which means that this stage has already been finished for many potential travelers.

Rabies Vaccination

The possibility of the spread of rabies is the most significant worry that has arisen as a result of the rise in the number of people traveling with their pets, and this is true for both national authorities and individual pet owners.

pet passports

This disease, common in many parts of the world, including some areas in Europe, invariably results in fatalities and can be found anywhere.

We in the United Kingdom and Ireland are in the enviable situation of being free of rabies; there hasn’t been a single instance of the disease contracted within our borders in decades.

This is something we are quite proud of. It is brought on by a lyssavirus, a virus that most frequently affects bats but can also infect a wide variety of other species.

Infected animals (or humans) could develop symptoms within days or go into an incubation period that lasts up to a year.

After the incubation period, significant inflammation of the brain and other neurological tissues causes changes in behavior (including aggression), excessive salivation, convulsions, and, ultimately, death.

It should not be surprising that we are interested in preventing the spread of this illness within our national boundaries.

There are currently several dead or inactive rabies vaccines on the market, and all of them can be given to puppies once they reach the age of twelve weeks.

Remember that the pet needs to have a microchip implanted before receiving the rabies vaccine; otherwise, the vaccination will need to be administered again.

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The primary vaccine course often only requires a single injection, which means that a booster dose is not required for at least a year after the initial immunization has been administered.

One of the challenges of traveling internationally is that each nation has its regulations. For instance, the amount of time that must pass after a rabies vaccination before is considered effective in different nations.

Although it has been established that the duration of immunity conferred by the majority of rabies vaccines is at least three years, this fact is only sometimes accepted worldwide.

This can be seen by looking at the required vaccination frequency in the following places:

  • South Africa One year.
  • Australia: Two years.
  • New Zealand: One year
  • Canada: Three years (vaccination optional for the UK and Ireland)
  • USA: Three years.
  • European Union: Three years.

In addition to immunization, a rabies blood titer is necessary for entry into most countries outside of the EU. This blood test is generally performed about 30 days following the vaccine and measures the pet’s response to the vaccination.

The immunological response offers immunity; thus, measuring how the pet has responded to the immunization is important. A dog can fail the blood titer test, which will require a second vaccination, also known as a “booster,” and then another test.

Although I have heard of one unhappy dog who didn’t respond until after the third vaccination, this is an incredibly rare occurrence in my experience.

After 21 days since their rabies vaccination, a dog is considered fit for travel within the European Union (EU).

Because rabies can have a potentially lengthy incubation period, most nations requiring a blood titer also have an extended waiting period ranging from three to six months before they will allow dogs to travel.

Even though puppies younger than twelve weeks old cannot be vaccinated against rabies, it is still possible for them to travel to certain countries so long as their mothers have a valid rabies vaccination certificate that has not expired.

Because the particulars of this arrangement are different in each country, anyone considering moving such young canines should consult with a delivery service to clear up any uncertainty that may arise.


If you do not comply with any of the rules outlined in this article, the likely outcome is that your dog will be confined to a secure quarantine facility for a period ranging from a few weeks to several months.

During this quarantine period, the owner is generally not allowed to contact the animal. In most countries, the owner must pay any veterinarian and boarding bills that accrue, which can amount significantly.

You will also be presented with the option of having your pet put to sleep, which is something none of us here would ever choose to do if given a choice.

Vaccination Against Leptospirosis

If you plan a trip to New Zealand, vaccinating against leptospirosis should be a high priority for you.

Leptospires are a family of bacteria that can infect humans, dogs, rodents, and farm animals. They commonly cause severe sickness in dogs, including blood clotting issues and liver failure.

On a farm, cattle, and sheep are the most common animals for which leptospirosis is responsible for abortion.

Because New Zealand’s economy is so dependent on its agricultural sector, it takes extra precautions to prevent importing “exotic” strains of leptospirosis.

Visitors to the country must have a blood test for antibodies to leptospirosis within 30 days of returning from their trip.

Because our animals are regularly vaccinated against leptospirosis, a sizeable fraction of them will have positive test results because their immunity has developed over time as a result of the vaccination.

These dogs need to be retested two weeks later to verify that the antibody levels have not increased. This will be necessary to demonstrate that the positive test result does not indicate an active infection.

Due to the fact that antibody levels rise in the weeks following vaccination, before falling to “normal” levels, owners who wish to travel to New Zealand must have their dog’s annual booster vaccinations done well before this blood test.

This is because antibody levels rise in the weeks following vaccination before falling to “normal” levels. There was one instance that I was made aware of in which a veterinarian vaccinated a dog right after taking a blood sample for this test.

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Because the dog still had sufficient circulating antibodies from his previous vaccination to test positive, and his following sample tested even higher, the owner was forced to cancel the trip the dog would take because of this.

Because of this, it was necessary to continue conducting all of the tests that had been done up to that time and board the dog in a boarding kennel for several weeks after the family had already moved on.

The business proprietor calculated that the additional expense would be close to two thousand pounds! An education that will undoubtedly stick with everyone involved in the situation.

Parasite Prevention

Several dangerous parasite infections should concern pet owners who travel with their animals.

As is the case with all diseases, prevention is preferable to treatment, and protocols have been developed to reduce the dangers posed to your dog.

Again, these differ significantly from country to country, but the fundamental ideas are explained in more detail below.


The parasitic roundworm known as Dirofilaria immitis is common throughout a significant portion of the planet. It depends on the mosquito to move its larvae from one host to another, which is why it is regarded as an alien species in the UK.

In areas where it is endemic, it poses a significant threat to public health and is a frequent factor in developing life-threatening illnesses in dogs and cats.

Adult worms make their home in the big blood veins that supply the lungs, and when the infestation is bad, they may also move into the right side of the heart.

They give birth to live young microfilariae, which circulate in the host’s bloodstream for up to two years as they wait for the chance to spread. These microfilariae are swallowed by mosquitoes that feed on the dog’s blood.

They then mature to their next stage of development in the mosquito’s digestive tract before traveling to the insect’s salivary glands. The following time it feeds on a dog or another mammal, the larvae are injected straight back into the host’s bloodstream.

From there, they enter the animal’s muscle tissue, continue to mature, and then travel to their adult destination in the heart or pulmonary blood supply.

Since it may be difficult to believe, many dogs infected with heartworm do not show any disease symptoms. However, other dogs may develop a cough or heart failure.

When an infestation has grown well-established, it is difficult to cure the condition without endangering the patient’s heart and lungs.

Emerging research shows that the worms’ need for a specific bacterium called Wolbachia might one day offer therapeutic options for the condition; however, this has not yet been definitively proved.

Instead of treating this disease, which comes with its potential complications, we would prefer to avoid it altogether. This can be accomplished by carefully using veterinary anti-parasitic, readily available medication.

These need to be given within four days of entering a location with a heartworm endemic, while some nations require treatment before departure.

Treatment intervals differ from product to product, but most medications must be given to the dog at least once a month while they are on the road.


While the majority of the tapeworm infestations that we see in the United Kingdom and Ireland are caused by Dipylidium caninum, which is a relatively harmless parasite transmitted by fleas, other regions of the world are infected with much more dangerous parasites, such as Taenia and Echinococcus species, which pose serious risks to the health of both humans and dogs.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, most of the tapeworm infestations we see are caused by Dipylidium caninum Treatment for tapeworms is consequently required for travel out of and back into the UK. This treatment must typically be administered within a window of one to five days before the departure date.

External Parasites

In addition to being a nuisance in and of themselves, ticks and fleas are also responsible for the transmission of several dangerous infectious diseases.

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In a manner analogous to that of the mosquito, which is responsible for the transmission of heartworm larvae, numerous bacteria, and other microorganisms have developed the ability to reside within the mouthparts of these parasites, where they watch for an opportunity to infect a dog or another animal.

The infection caused by these “bugs” is known as a vector-borne sickness, and it can cause various symptoms that are hard to pinpoint. This illness can devastate a person’s quality of life, and it is frequently challenging to diagnose.

Lyme disease is an example that some people may be familiar with. This condition, which can produce symptoms ranging from chronic weariness to pain in the muscles to the failure of organs, is exceedingly difficult to treat successfully, even in humans.

Utilizing veterinary products that have been given the seal of approval is the responsible way to give an animal traveling adequate protection from biting parasites.

When traveling abroad, it is a nice idea to brush or comb your dog’s coat after it has been exposed to the outdoors.

This is especially important if you have been walking in wooded or farmland areas, which are common habitats for ticks. The use of preventative therapies helps to ensure that we will not mistakenly bring alien insects to our shores.

Other Issues To Take Into Account

Although I have provided an overview of some of the most important prerequisites for taking your dog with you on a trip outside the country, each nation has specific regulations regarding the timing of procedures and the kinds of products permitted.

Your veterinary surgeon is the person who is best suited to assist you in planning your trip, and you should make it a point to get in touch with them as quickly as possible in the process of making plans to travel outside of the EU.

There are some stringent testing requirements for traveling to South Africa, for instance, where multiple visits to the veterinary surgery at carefully specified time periods are essential to pass inspection on entry to the country.

Plus the treatments and tests discussed earlier, these stringent testing requirements must be met. Especially if you are traveling with more than one pet, the procedure is complex and even daunting.

It is common for a dog to fail one or more of these tests on the first attempt. To manage any delays that may result, owners, need to be organized and flexible.

Because restrictions regarding travel are subject to change, the embassy of the nation you desire to visit is the most reliable source for up-to-date information on the regulations.

The majority will, on request, provide an information packet to those interested. Utilizing the services of a pet courier service, on the other hand, is a choice that is simpler, less stressful, and more expensive.

These companies are typically very good at outlining travel requirements in a format easier for you and your veterinarian to comprehend. They do so in a step-by-step manner.

As the last step, you will need to get a certificate from your veterinarian stating that your dog is healthy enough to travel, and you should try to get this done at most 48 hours before your departure time.

This requires a comprehensive veterinary examination on both legs of your journey, looking for any signs of illness or parasites that may have been transmitted.

Before you leave, locate the veterinary clinic you intend to use on your way back and schedule an appointment in advance. If you cannot, at least take note of the clinic’s contact information.

It is typically possible to locate an English-speaking veterinarian near the point of departure for your return journey by conducting an internet search and conversing with other pet owners who have previously traveled the same route.

Surgeries located near some of the busiest ports in Europe specialize in exactly this kind of work. Making early reservations eliminates the risk of unpleasant surprises on your return trip.


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