Up to €300 vet bills for pets travelling between Ireland and UK in no-deal Brexit

New restrictions on cats, dogs, ferrets will apply if UK leaves EU without deal on March 29th

 

Pet owners face bills of up to €300 for extra blood tests and veterinary checks on their animals if they want to travel between Ireland and the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

New restrictions on cats, dogs and ferrets travelling between Ireland and the UK will apply if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal on March 29th.

The current situation, allowing free movement of pets between the UK and Ireland (or indeed any EU member state), is that pets must be microchipped and have received a rabies vaccine to travel.

The pet must also have an EU pet passport which is issued by a vet.

Three weeks after the rabies vaccine a dog for example is free to move between Ireland and the UK with no need for anything else other than to keep their rabies vaccine updated every three years.

Three months waiting

Should the UK leave the EU with no deal then in addition to these requirements a pet travelling from the UK to any EU member state, including Ireland, will also be required to undergo a rabies blood test.

While the UK has said they will impose no extra restrictions meaning dogs that are microchipped, rabies vaccinated and have an EU pet passport can travel freely from Ireland to the UK, just as now, travelling from the UK back to Ireland presents the pet owner with a different scenario.

A dog for example in this scenario travelling from Leeds (or indeed Newry) back to Dublin will have to travel under the standardised rules that apply for entry for pets from third countries to any EU member states. This means that dog must:

1. Be microchipped (as now)

2. be vaccinated against rabies (as now)

And then also:

3. One month later have a blood test done at an EU approved veterinary laboratory to check the rabies vaccine has worked

4. And assuming the blood test result is satisfactory the dog cannot travel from the UK to any EU member state until three months after the date of the blood test

5. Finally one to five days before travel from the UK to Ireland the dog must visit a vet in the UK who must administer a tapeworm treatment to the dog and must certify that this has been done

6. In addition if the dog has a pet passport issued by any of the EU 27 then all of these details can be entered into that passport.

However if it has a UK issued EU pet passport these are no longer valid (as the UK will no longer be in the EU).

Instead a UK government vet must issue an EU approved health certificate for this dog, detailing the fact that it has a microchip, rabies vaccine, rabies blood test date and result, date of administering the tapeworm treatment, certifying the dog is healthy.

Start preparing

Veterinary surgeon Alan Rossiter who is based in Co Wicklow said pet owners planning on travelling need to start preparing.

“If the UK crashes out of the EU on the 29th of March without a deal, it is vitally important that pet owners understand that the current straightforward rules regarding pet movement between Ireland and the UK will change dramatically.

“In essence the rules that will apply for a pet travelling from the UK to Ireland (and to all other EU states) will fall into the same category as, for example, a pet travelling from Angola. Do not presume you will be able to freely travel with the documentation you already have for your pet,” he said.

“If you need clarification, contact your local vet or the Department of Agriculture, as your pet could be seized and quarantined for up to three months if the new and complex rules are not followed exactly,” he added.

Costs

The rabies blood test costs over €200 and the additional vet visit in Britain could cost up to €75.

“Should there be a no-deal Brexit on March 29th, it seems there is no provision in law for an exception to be made for animal movement, of any species, between Ireland and Northern Ireland and the same rules that apply to third countries will apply to animal movement from any and all parts of the UK to any other EU state, including movement of all animals – dogs, cats, horses, sheep, cattle, pigs – from Northern Ireland to Ireland.

“How this can be policed along a border that is as long as England is north to south escapes all of us and is a nightmare for our colleagues in the Department of Agriculture who are, in fairness, doing an excellent job trying to deal with the insurmountable problems the UK government are making for all of us on this island,” Mr Rossiter said.

Advice demand

A survey in the UK has meanwhile revealed British vets have seen a spike in anxious pet owners seeking Brexit travel advice in the last three months.

The poll found 85 per cent of vets have been approached for guidance on travelling with a pet in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of vets reported an increase in Brexit-related inquiries since November, with around 40 per cent seeing a significant spike.

Pet owners have expressed “frustration” and “anger” over Brexit uncertainty, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) said.

The BVA’s February 2019 Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey polled 379 companion animal vets across the UK.

According to the survey, only 48 per cent of vets felt they could answer most of their clients’ questions on pet travel, with many unable to respond to queries in detail due to Brexit uncertainty.

Qualitative responses to the survey revealed pet owners travelling regularly between the UK and EU and from Northern Ireland to the Republic, such as for dog shows or visiting family, are feeling “especially inconvenienced”.

Vets reported some clients are getting rabies testing done in advance, but many are choosing to wait to avoid extra costs. – Additional reporting PA

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