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EC Regulation 998/2003 on non-commercial movement of pets

The European Commission (EC) in Brussels has decided that the implementation date of this Regulation will be put back from 3 July 2004 to 1 October 2004. AS OF 21/06/04 the date has reverted to July 3rd !! Watch this space check above links for information

For the UK, this will mean that existing national rules on the export of pets to the Community and the import of pets into the UK (the Pet Travel Scheme) will remain in place until 2nd July 2004

UK quarantine rules will continue to apply for those animals which cannot enter the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme because they do not fully comply with scheme rules or are not eligible.

Veterinary Surgeons will be written to very shortly to tell them about this delay in introducing the new pet passport system and what they need to do.

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is the system that allows pet animals from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules. It also means that people in the UK can, having taken their pets to these countries, bring them back without the need for quarantine.

this link takes you to the DEFRA website which will give detailed advice as to what is needed to fulfil the requirements for the pets travel scheme.

These are as follows IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER this may vary if the passport is being completed elsewhere in Europe

        1) Fitting of a microchip

        2) Administer a rabies vaccine

        3) A blood test thirty days later

        4) A positive titre of large enough magnitude to qualify for a pet passport



On receiving an appropriate positive test result your pet will be free to re enter the UK on the basis of the pet travel scheme SIX MONTHS from the date of the positive result ( the so called six month rule ) It is possible that you may be able to travel out of the UK before this six month mark as long as your return is later than the six months

    PETS 1  This is your actual pet passport which you will need to get your pet back into UK without quarantine , note that it is a sheet certificate not a passport like your own.

    PETS 2  This is a certificate for a vet abroad to fill in to certify treatment against ticks & tapeworms was done at the correct time (between 24 & 48 hours prior to arrival in the UK). These should normally be also available abroad.

    PETS 3  This is a form for YOU to complete to certify you have not taken your pet outside the relevant qualifying countries and must be presented with the other paper work to the authorities on your return to UK This is your declaration of residency

    PETS 3A  This is a list of the qualifying countries

    PETS 4 There is no pets 4 !!

    PETS 5 This is a French translation of the PETS 1 and is valid as an export certificate to France. This is the ONLY other country your pet passport will allow you into.

On return to the UK your pet must travel by an approved route

you must sign a declaration of residency form

and as noted above your pet must be treated against ticks and tapeworms within 24-48 hours of travelling and a pets 2 issued

Please note that apart from France you will usually need a DEFRA export certificate for each of any other countries that you intend to visit. Please contact DEFRA for more information.The DEFRA certificates can usually be arranged at much shorter notice than the pet passport but do not leave it too late. You will need an appropriate export certificate each time you travel abroad. The PETS 5 certificate remains valid for the same duration as the PETS 1


Useful links



travelling abroad with your pet puts it at higher risk of diseases not normally seen in the UK


This disease is carried by sandflies and occurs especially around the Mediterranean.Signs include weight loss, enlarged glands, skin problems and chronic renal failure.  There is a very serious zoonotic possibility(risk of passage to humans) with Leishmania. The sandfly may not be seen to bite the dog and the incubation period can be extremely variable. Even more worrying is that it can be transmitted from dog to dog as well as dog to man. In humans the disease is similar to that of the dog. There are skin ulcers, enlarged spleen, enlarged lymph nodes, anaemia, vomiting, diarrhoea and progressive weight loss. Normally humans will only contract the disease if they are immunosuppressed.  British dogs have no immunity to this disease and so avoiding the sandflies is essential. If you are visiting a country where this disease is prevalent, visit a vet on arrival - they have experience with this disease and can suggest preventative measures. Treatment is lengthy and expensive and only keeps the disease at bay - there is no cure.


This is a serious tick-borne disease which destroys blood cells and only affects dogs. Signs include fever, anaemia, blood in the urine and jaundice and susceptible dogs can die within a day or two of the appearance of signs. British dogs are especially susceptible to this and other diseases found in mainland Europe since  they have no resistance. Canine babesiosis is prevalent in France especially south of the Loire Valley. Proper treatment for ticks is vital for stopping infection from developing. It is worth checking your dogšs coat every day you are away and on your return - if you can remove ticks in the first day infection can be prevented.


This is another tick-borne disease presently unknown in Britain. It is prevalent in southern Europe, round the Mediterranean, the Rhone valley and in Finland. Signs are non-specific although in the later stages there are haemorrhages including nosebleeds.Again, prevention is aimed at preventing ticks from infecting your pet.


 This worm lives in the chambers of the heart and the large blood vessels. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and is common in southern Europe especially southern France, Spain, Italy and around the Mediterranean. A few cases a year are diagnosed in the UK - normally in imported dogs. There can be a time-lapse ;sometimes years ; between infection and symptoms. Once a dog has developed heartworm, the outlook is pretty grim so prevention is essential. If you are visiting a country where heartworm is present, visit a vet immediately on arrival and get heartworm tablets - or ask your UK vet about Stronghold. Heartworm can infect humans although the risk is low.


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