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Hi,

I am planning to take my dog with me on my visit to UK.

I am planning to use Virgin A. Airlines to transport my dog to UK.
Spending 5 months in UK, would my dog be able to stay in UK with a friend?

Once I return back to USA, I am planning to return back to UK as soon as possible and stay for good. So I must take my dog on the first visit rather then be dealing with the 6 month quarantine thing on the second visit. Currently I am starting the PETS plan and 6 month quarantine in USA.

Would love to hear from those who done this before or know someone who had been though this. Any one who knows the process, the airline information, DEFRA, USDA, personal experience, the detail steps, documents and any helpful advise you can offer me in this overwhelming process.

Thanks! :clap2:
 

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I brought my cat with me when I moved to the UK and I have a friend that had her dog shipped to her once she was here, so I may be able to help.

First thing, Defra is great, they have very helpful people that will help you understand exactly what to do and in what order. Your local USDA Aphis office is also your friend. I found them extremely helpful.

If you have not already done so (but I expect you might have) read through all the information on the Defra website. Defra, UK - Animal health and welfare - Pet Travel Scheme I printed out their checklist and made a binder to keep absolutely everything. If you have a vet that has gone through this before they can be helpful (though double and triple check them to be sure). My vet had never done this before, so the onus was on me to make sure it was all done right.

Check here to find your USDA Aphis Veterinary Services Area Office USDA - APHIS - Animal Health - Area Offices

There are a LOT of forms to fill out, one that I didn't know about until I spoke to the USDA, so it is a good idea to call them and ask them to go over what you need to do. I found them patient and thorough. Better to feel the fool than be the fool when you arrive and don't have something!

The first thing you must do is to have your dog microchipped. If possible, you want an ISO 11784/11785 chip. It will have a 15-digit ID number. In the US most microchips are slightly different and have 10-digit number. Some will tell you that no one will be able to read the US microchips in Europe. I had a near panic attack over this. In the end, the people in France read the chip with no problem on their scanner (which might scan for both kinds). If you can get the European standard chip, I would, even if it costs a few dollars more. It will save you the nervousness. If you already have a US chip, then I wouldn't worry too much, but if you want to be safe most chip manufacturers will loan you a scanner which you can then mail back to them once you are in the UK (they take a hefty deposit but return it when the scanner comes back). I did this with my cat's Home Again chip, and it gave me peace of mind, even though it turned out I didn't need the scanner.

Once the dog is microchipped make sure your vet scans the chip EVERY time anything is done for your checklist. You might want to get the proper form (EC Regulation 998/2003), and start filling it in from day one. You don't need to, it can be done at the end, but it serves as a good checklist and makes sure that you document all the bits that need to be documented. Also make sure you keep all of your receipts. Hopefully your vet will do excellent invoices like mine. I have one for when she got her microchip and a second for her vaccination which has her microchip number included on the invoice in the "patient data" section. Keep these as well!

21 days or more (I think) after the vaccination is given, go back to the vet who will take a blood sample. This needs to then be sent to Kansas State University (your vet will know them, they are they only approved lab in the US) for a Rabies Antibody Titer test. Your vet will also know the time that should elapse between the vaccination and blood draw. I would wait the recommended time rather than rushing, as a poor result will cost you more time than the extra few days of waiting. This test will tell them if there are a sufficient level of rabies antibodies in your dog's blood to protect him/her from the disease. Once that test comes back, make sure you have a copy of the report sent to your vet. As long as the test was good (greater than or equal to 1.99 IU/mL) then you have the date that you can first travel. The clocks starts from the date of the blood DRAW. It must then be 6 months before you travel to the UK. It can be up to 1 year before you travel, so you have a window with some flexibility.

Those are the major steps. However there is at least one more and I think for dogs it's two more vaccinations that they like to see are up to date. I'm not sure if they are required, and I think the rabies vaccinations that vets use may actually include the vaccination for the other stuff as well. Check with the USDA to be sure, they should know.

You will make 2 trips to the USDA, probably. The first trip will be once the 6 months is up to have them authorise your EC Regulation 998/2003 form. The form can be found and printed from the Defra website http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2004/l_358/l_35820041203en00120017.pdf

Have your vet fill out sections I-V. Then the form is taken to the USDA which looks at all your documents (you don't need to take your dog though, whew) but do take all your invoices/receipts and the Titer test result with you. They will stamp all of these documents along with your form and fill in the last part of section V.

Sections VI and VII are filled in by your vet only, and it will be RIGHT before you leave. Tick and tapeworm treatment must be well timed. The treatment must have been given more than 24 hours but less than 48 hours before you LAND in the UK. I recommend having your vet fill out sections VI and VII with the time, and note the time zone (or record the time in GMT, either should reduce confusion).

They will also want a form called "Aphis form 7001" It is a form with 7 copies, all made via carbon paper. Your vet will probably be familiar with it. They get it from the USDA I believe and may have them on hand. This form is supposedly wanted by everyone, from your airline to the customs people in the UK. I personally found only 3 out of 7 of the forms were wanted. But your airline will likely require it. So it'll be an extra $50, oh well. It has to be completed in a short timespan before you fly and is intended to show that your dog is healthy enough for the flight and that you have completed all the right steps so he/she will go though customs without trouble. I had my vet fill out his part a week before my flight and then took it to the USDA for their part the next day. This was fine. I think it has to be less than 10 days before your flight. By the way, push REALLY hard when filling out this form, as you have to sign it. I've never seen such obstinate carbon paper!

As for finding a good airline, I will leave others to advise you. Check around on price, it can apparently be reasonable but also can be exorbitant.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask, but I hope the walkthrough was of some help.

Best wishes,
Elizabeth
 
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