Health Certificates

Overview

A health certificate is a confirmation that a pet is healthy enough and meets all the requirements in order to travel domestically or internationally. Some examples of travel requirements are a rabies titer test, vaccines, bloodwork, flea treatment or a microchip placement.

All pets traveling both domestically (within the United States) and internationally must have a health certificate. For international travel, the Health Department (USDA) must review and endorse this certificate in order for the pet to travel outside the United States. It is equally important if someone is driving to have a domestic health certificate. If the client, for instance, is stopped for speeding in a different state, they may ask for proof of a rabies for your pet.   A hotel who allows pets may also require a certificate. If they cannot prove this, they may be required to go to a vet immediately to receive a rabies vaccination. They could also incur an additional fine. While this does not happen often, we are required to educate our clients regarding this risk.

An appointment is set up for the pet to receive an exam from a DVM 10 days prior to departure if pet is flying either domestically or internationally.

Domestic certificates are relatively easy since this is the only documentation besides a rabies certificate required for traveling. International certificates usually require a bi-lingual one as well.

DOMESTIC HEALTH CERTIFICATES (Pets traveling within the United States)

  • We recommend the exam be done as close to the travel date as possible to assure your pet is in good health to travel. These certificates are only good for 30 days.
  • If vaccines were done elsewhere, you must provide verification including a rabies certificate. A copy of the rabies certificate must accompany the health certificate.
  • Contact your airline for any specific regulations. If traveling by car, a health certificate is still required by most states.
  • If making multiple stops while traveling, the last destination needs to be the address on the certificate. This includes travel to Canada.
  • An appointment can be made once we have all of the required information. If flying, the appointment must be 10 days prior to departure.

HAWAII

Hawaii requires a RABIES TITER test be done. This involves drawing blood to test the percentage of rabies protection for each pet. This test is usually sent to the Kansas State Laboratory or the Ft. Sam Houston Lab (active duty military members) at least 120 days before the arrival date. A passing test is valid for 36 months. Results can take up to 4 weeks. Results will be mailed and faxed back to the hospital. The client will be called to come in and pick up the results. A separate check must be mailed to the lab along with the blood sample.

  • A microchip number and destination must be included with the sample.

INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATES (outside of the United States)

Due to the ever changing requirements and regulations associated with pets traveling overseas, Dumfries Animal Hospital’s policy on International Health Certificates is changing. Effective immediately, we will be referring our clients who are in need of an International Health Certificate to a Pet Relocation Service (Pet Travel Agency) before we can schedule your appointment.

For our Active Duty and D.O.D clients, we still highly recommend you schedule your health certificate appointment with a Military Vet

    These services specialize in pet relocation and stay abreast of the ever changing regulations and requirements of airlines, the USDA and individual countries.
    These companies will work directly with you to complete all of the required documents, including USDA endorsements, and have them ready prior to your vet appointment. They will inform you of the exact requirements of your destination country to include any tests and vaccines needed prior to departure. They can also make flight reservations, help with security check-in at the airport, and even arrange for ground transport.
    Once all of the required documents are completed and any necessary tests are performed, we can schedule your appointment for the physical exam that is required before a Veterinarian can sign the health certificate. They will still need to check that the information (name, date, address, vaccine information, microchip) on the completed certificate is correct prior to signing.
    The service that we will be recommending is called Petsfly.com.
    If you prefer to choose a different company, we highly recommend choosing a Pet Relocation Service that is a member of the IPATA (Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association). A complete list can be found on their website @ www.ipata.org.
    Researching all of the requirements needed to relocate your beloved pet overseas can be difficult and time consuming. We are hoping that by partnering with a service that specializes in pet travel we can make this process as stress free for both our hospital staff and our clients.

ACTIVE MILITARY OR D.O.D EMPLOYEES

We are more than happy to provide this service to our active military and DOD members but feel it is to the client’s best interest to have them done on base. This will save you time and money because the base vet is able to endorse the certificate themselves. They are also able to assist you if there is a problem at the port of entry.

SCHEDULING A HEALTH CERTIFICATE APPOINTMENT:

We will do our very best to make sure these appointments go smoothly and that all documentation is completed accurately and in a timely manner. In order to achieve this, we must have all the required information such as destination address, current phone numbers, departure date, and vaccine history.

*** If the required information is not provided to us prior to your scheduled appointment, the appointment will need to be rescheduled.

 

We highly recommend you visit the USDA website
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel
The website also provides a listing of many countries and their current requirements and protocols.
You may also e-mail questions to the Richmond office at vspsva@aphis.usda.gov.