The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has warned that pet owners must start preparing now if they want to take their pet to the EU after Brexit, in case a no deal situation leaves them facing long waits to get cleared for travel.
If the UK has “unlisted” third country status following withdrawal from the EU, dogs, cats and ferrets would need to prove they have been effectively vaccinated against rabies by undergoing a rabies antibody titration test at least thirty days after vaccination and no fewer than three months before their travel date.
Pets would need to travel with an animal health certificate issued by an Official Veterinarian, which would be valid for ten days from the date of issue until entry into EU member states.
BVA has warned that the changes could lead to a surge in demand for vets to carry out testing and vaccination, at a time when the workforce is also experiencing shortages and recruitment problems.
Simon Doherty, BVA president, said: “Vets are urging pet owners to start planning now if they want to travel with their pet post-Brexit to avoid disappointment and ensure that all the tests and checks required in the event of a no deal situation have been completed in good time.
“Leaving the EU with no agreement in place could lead to owners facing longer waits to get their pet cleared for travel and higher costs for the required vaccination, treatments and health certificates each time they leave the UK.”
He added: “We are also concerned that pet travel changes under a no deal Brexit could spark a surge in demand for small animal vets and laboratory capacity to fulfil increased requirements for rabies testing and vaccination at a time when the workforce is already experiencing shortfalls.
“It’s vital that the government engages with the workforce and takes steps to ensure there is adequate capacity in place. Reinstating vets on the shortage occupation list would make a huge difference at this critical point.”