Pet owners will be forced to pay for rabies vaccinations every time they want to take their animals into the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the government has warned.

Health certificates costing up to £60 will be provided to owners whose animals have had a blood test showing the procedure’s success.

The stricter rules would replace the pet passport scheme that means pets only have to be checked 21 days before travel. It also allows them move back and forth to the EU for their entire lives.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit however, tests will have to be carried out on pets out three months before the date of travel, and once handed out the certificates will only be valid for ten days from the date of issue until entry into Europe. 

Although animals will still be allowed to travel to the continent after Britain leaves the European Union (EU), chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said that pet owners travelling after 29 March 2019 should ”consult with their vet as soon as they can.” 

She said: “In recent weeks we have been in contact with vets to highlight this issue. They are expecting pet owners to consult with them and plan ahead.”

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) estimates that together with additional costs, owners will need to pay up to £150 to prepare their animals for travel.

Without a Brexit deal, the UK is likely to become an “unlisted” third country, meaning these additional safety measures must be carried out on cats, dogs and ferrets to ensure they are not carrying disease.

The BVA warned that these arduous procedures will lead to a surge in demand at a time when the workforce is already experiencing workforce problems.

The follow-up test to check there are sufficient levels of rabies antibodies in the animal’s blood would need to be carried out a minimum of 30 days after the vaccination and three months before the travel date.

Although rabies vaccinations last three years, owners would have to purchase a new health certificate every time they visited the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

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Together with other treatments such as tapeworm medicines, the BVA estimates total costs would be around £100-150 for owners.

“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,” its president Simon Doherty, president said. 

“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.”



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