The strictest countries regarding rabies
Tecate, the dog of my friend Pepe, does not have the rabies, but he is the dog of the devil. We love you Tec!
There are certain countries that put so many obstacles to access them with your dog where, maybe, you should consider not going. Change them for others! It is not a joke, if you hesitate between two countries to travel with your dog, decide on the one that least hinders you from getting in the way. But if we are talking about the destiny of your life and you want to know it with your buddy, or if you are going to move there for whatever reasons, do not worry, there will always be a solution.
Some of these countries are Australia, New Zealand or Japan. As you can see, they are usually islands, with a local fauna separated from the rest and without the immunological mechanisms to fight diseases that could arrive suddenly. My opinion on this is that it is understandable up to a certain limit. It makes sense that they want to protect their domestic and wild animals, which inhabit these lands long before the Homo sapiens evolved with crazy ideas such as traveling to these lands accompanied by a domesticated Canis lupus, but the measures they have sometimes leave a great deal to be desired, as you will see in the next paragraphs.
On the other hand, many countries also must face the fact that they are considered high risk in terms of the transmission of rabies disease. It seems that the consensus on what these countries are is global, or rather between the great world powers. That is, if, for example, you travel from one of these risk countries (say Colombia), it will not be the same as you go to a "weak" country (for example Guatemala) than to a "strong" one (let's say the United Kingdom). The first will probably let you without many requirements while the second will subject you to a whole gymkhana to get to it.
Finishing, and putting ourselves in the worst scenario, which would be in the hypothetical case that you want to fly from one of these "high risk" countries (let's change the example so as not to torment the poor Colombians and say this time Peru) to one of those super strict destinations (say this time Australia), the result can be the denial of entry to the country to your dog. But, as we will see in this post, even for these extreme cases there may be a glimmer of hope.
LIST OF COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES CONSIDERED FREE OF RABIES (OR AT LOW RISK) TO ENTER THE EUROPEAN UNION
According to the regulations for the transport of animals and in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 245/2007, a list of countries is established to take into account the entry and exit requirements for pets. This list includes territories exempt from rabies, as well as territories in respect of which the risk of rabies entering the Community due to movement from them is not considered to be higher than the risk associated with movements between Member States.
If you fly from any of these countries listed on the list, you will not have problems arriving at your destination (except for some very strict countries), as long as your buddy has the microchip, the rabies vaccine in force (that is, within the last year), deworming in the days before the flight and the veterinarian's medical certificate. If the country you are flying from is not on this list, I am very sorry my friend, because you are going to have to do your dog the damn rabies neutralizing antibodies test (with the additional of a possible quarantine on arrival to the destination airport), or else fly from another country that figure in the list of low risk. As discussed in the dog documentation post, for the antibodies test, in addition, you need to do it in an approved laboratory, which is not that they abound around the world precisely. To give you an idea, in Spain there are only two authorized laboratories: the Valencian Institute of Microbiology (IVAMI), a private institution; and the Animal Health Central Laboratory of Santa Fe (Granada), under the Ministry of the Environment. You will not have to go in person to that laboratory, which on the one hand will be a peace of mind for you. However, the cost, already high, will be even higher, since the owner is responsible for the cost of sending the blood sample to these laboratories... In this link of the European Union you can see the list of authorized laboratories around the world to carry out this test: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/pet-movement/approved-labs_en#
And now we go with the list of healthy countries according to the EU...
Part A: Ireland, Malta, Sweden, United Kingdom. With these we will go later in more detail because they are (or they were, rather) "special".
Part B (section 1): Denmark (including Greenland and Faroe Islands, Spain (including the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla), France (including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion, Gibraltar and Portugal (including the Azores Islands and Island of Madeira); The rest of the Member States other than those listed in "Part A" or in this section, for example: Germany, Poland, Italy, Greece…
Part B (section 2): Andorra, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, State of the Vatican City.
Part C (THIRD COUNTRIES): Ascension Island, United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Netherlands Antilles, Argentina, Australia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Bahrain, Bermuda, Belarus, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Falkland Islands, Hong Kong, Croatia, Jamaica, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Mauritius, Mexico, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Russian Federation, Singapore, Saint Helena, Trinidad and Tobago Tobago, Taiwan, United States of America (including Guam), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte.
To belong to the list of countries in Part C, the third country must first prove its status in relation to rabies and that: a) notification to authorities of suspected rabies is mandatory; b) an effective surveillance system has been in place for at least two years; c) the structure and organization of its veterinary services are capable of guaranteeing the validity of the certificates; d) all regulatory measures for the prevention and control of rabies have been applied, including regulations applicable to imports; e) there are current regulations on the placing of anti-rabies vaccines on the market (list of authorized vaccines and laboratories).
MIS LISTAS DE ORÍGENES Y DESTINOS PERRUNOS
As the combinations of origins and destinations are multiple and I can not speak here for 100% of the world population, I have elaborated a (personal) classification with those countries/nationalities that can travel with their dogs more easily, and another with the countries to which it is easier to access. These general classifications, although there will be nuances, will surely be of help. At least to begin to know how your dog origin and your dog destiny match.
Countries that can travel with their dogs more easily. From highest to lowest ease:
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, United Kingdom
Rest of Europe, USA, Canada
Argentina, Chile, Mexico
Rest of the world
Countries that are easier to access with a dog. Surprisingly (or not, really), this classification follows an almost identical pattern. From highest to lowest difficulty:
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Iceland
Europe (United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Malta are more demanding), USA, Canada
Argentina, Chile, Mexico
Rest of the world
WHAT ABOUT COUNTRIES LIKE SWEDEN, MALTA, UNITED KINGDOM OR IRELAND?
Well, they are kind of "Nazis" with the dog issue. I mean, they were! Fortunately, since a few years ago (2012) these countries modified their regulations regarding the importation of pets to match the rest of the countries of the European Union. Which greatly facilitates a dog trip to such destinations! At least for some. For example, before the United Kingdom and Ireland requested that a blood sample was taken 30 days after the vaccination and (listen guys...) 6 months before the trip. 6 months before the flight, man! Although they are still some of the most strict countries in Europe on this issue, everything is much easier now. Again, at least sometimes, and for some nationalities...
Accessing these territories from other EU countries
Rabies vaccine in force (that is, at least 21 days before the flight, but never more than 12 months before). Important: your dog must be vaccinated after the implantation of the chip.
Internal deworming (against Echinococcus) between 24 and 120 hours before the trip. I think the external antiparasitic treatment is not mandatory, but in case of doubt I would do it, just in case.
European passport. This, which works as a medical record book of your dog, is where the chip data, vaccines and deworming will appear.
Accessing these territories from countries outside the EU
It will depend on whether your country is considered as low or high risk for rabies. In the first case the necessary dog documentation will be the same as that described above (check it, however), while in the second case you will be asked, in addition to these common documents, a blood test 30 days after the rabies vaccine (the result should appear in your dog's book/passport). In addition, you will have to let a time pass between this analysis and the flight. This interval varies from one country to another. For example, for Malta you have to wait at least 3 months after the blood collection.
TRAVELING TO OTHER COUNTRIES OUTSIDE THE EUROPEAN UNION
It is worth mentioning countries like Australia, New Zealand, Iceland or Japan among the countries that win the award of stricter countries outside the European Union. Here we are going to describe the steps you have to take to reach them, trying to speak for everyone (a difficult thing because, once again, for each origin it is different). We will start with what you have to do if you want to embark on a canine adventure to the country of kangaroos (which, after much reading, I have come to the conclusion that it is the most "dog-Nazi" country).
THE NEVER-ENDING STORY TO ARRIVE IN AUSTRALIA
Australia is the perfect example to illustrate how damn hard it is to travel with your dog to countries with super strict policies. In this case, it does not matter where you come from, if from the United States or Zimbabwe, they are going to screw you anyway! At least they fuck us all equally, seeing it on the egalitarian side... In fact, this is not true, given that there are dogs from certain countries that can not even access the country (on second thought, I do not think the poor Zimbabweans have many options). But what I mean is that we are all fucked up, without exception!
To begin, you have to take into account that the animal must go through a mandatory quarantine when arriving in the country, which not many owners will be willing to accept. The quarantine period varies according to the country of origin of the animal. For example, Argentinian, Chilean, Uruguayan, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, American (and Puerto Rican), Canadian, and English dogs, among many other nationalities, require at least 30 days of quarantine. That is, an authentic madness. As if this were not enough, you do not even have the option to visit your buddy during all this time... But to get to this step, which is supposed to be indicative that things are going well (you have already made it there!), there is a (never-ending) series of steps to be completed that will "steal" you a lot of time and money (counting all permits, vaccines, analysis and services can amount to more than 1500 dollars).
Here we go with the steps to follow (taken from the website of the Australian Department of Agriculture)
First of all, you have to inform yourself of the requirements that the Australian authorities request.
And then, although I would put this first, check if your dog is eligible to enter the country. This is done online, through the official website of the Australian Department of Agriculture. You just have to select the species (dog or cat), your country, and the date of entry into Australia. If the animal is eligible, you will get a calendar proposal with the procedures to be performed. I tell you that, feeling it a lot, if your dog is from Latin America (except for Argentina, Chile or Uruguay), Africa or Asia (I do not know if there will be any exceptions), you have it complicated. But not impossible: your only chance is to nationalize your dog in any of the countries approved by the Australian authority. This means that, at least, your dog has lived for 6 months in the country before heading to Australia. On the other hand, some breeds are banned from entering the country, and here nothing can be done, unless you want to take him/her to the canine plastic surgeon. If your friend is a Pit Bull (Terrier or American), a Dogo Argentino, a Fila Brasileiro, a Japanese Tosa, or a Presa Canario, perhaps your destination is another, far from Kangarooland.
Verify the existence of a microchip or implantation of a new microchip. In addition, it seems that they are strict even with the compatibility of the microchip that your dog can carry with its readers (Avid, Trovan, Destron). If on arriving in Australia their equipment cannot detect the microchip, they could send your dog back...
Check the rabies vaccine.
Perform the famous test for the identification of neutralizing antibodies of rabies between 180 days and 24 months before entering the country. Remember that this must be done in one of the approved laboratories, which, as we have already mentioned, do not abound. For example, as I mentioned above, in Spain there are only two in the whole country. Click here to see the list of laboratories.
Certification of the test by an official veterinarian recognized by the Ministry of the Environment, and Rural and Marine Affairs.
Request the import permit. The joke costs you $ 480 Australian, and must be paid at least 42 days before the date of entry into the country. You can look at the price here. Maybe you are lucky and they lower it a bit!
Book your dog's stay in one of the animal quarantine centers in Australia. This is mandatory too.
Check the validity of the rest of the vaccines.
External antiparasitic treatment. It must be carried out at least 21 days before the blood collection to assess Ehrlichia canis (which is the next step).
Collection of blood sample to rule out Ehrlichia canis. It must be done within 45 days prior to departure.
Test for Brucella canis (Brucellosis). It must be done within 45 days prior to departure.
Test for Leishmania infantum (Leishmaniosis). It must be done within 45 days prior to departure.
Test for Leptospira canicola (Leptospirosis). It must be done within 45 days prior to departure.
Note: this step only applies to those dogs that have visited African lands. Test for Babesia canis. It must be done within 28 days before the flight.
Internal deworming. There will be two treatments, with at least 14 days between one and the other, the latter must be done within 5 days before the exportation.
Pre-export clinical examination. Must be done by an official veterinarian within 5 days before the flight.
Completion of the "Veterinary Health Certificate". Also within 5 days before the date of export.
Travel to Australia. It is important that you arrive in Australia before the import permit expires (the one that cost you an arm and a leg).
Transportation of your faithful mate to the quarantine facilities (minimum 10 days, for the most fortunate countries).
Well, that is the way it is, and that is how we have told it, a huge adventure of paperwork to reach Aussie territory. Yes, my dear friend, if you succeed I want to be the first to hear your testimony and, above all, enjoy the incredible reunion (more than deserved) with your dog!
Oh, I forgot one thing. You can only arrive with your dog to Australia by flying to the following airports: Sydney (New South Wales), Melbourne (Victoria) or Perth (Western Australia).
THE OTHER NEVER-ENDING STORY TO GET TO NEW ZEALAND
From what I have read, New Zealand is similar. Of course, there is an advantage over its neighbor: you can visit your dog while he/she is in quarantine.
DOG ADVENTURE IN ICELAND
To take your dog to this curious and beautiful country isolated in northern Europe, you will also have to suffer. But first of all, I want to congratulate all the Australian, New Zealand, Japanese, British, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Faroe Islands dogs: you guys are exempt from the rabies vaccine, and, above all, from the rabies neutralizing antibodies test. Dogs from these countries will only have to meet the other requirements. Here we go with them:
15-digit microchip compatible with the international standard ISO 11784/11785. On the website it is said that if your dog's chip is not compatible for that ISO, you can bring your own reading system. If you have doubts about whether your dog's chip meets these parameters, ask your veterinarian. Honestly, I have no idea if Cocaí's chip, which she got in Ecuador three years ago, is compatible with ISO and that long number. It sounds like Chinese to me. We have not had problems with the chip in the destinations we have visited so far...
Rabies vaccine. Administered between 30 days and 12 months before entering the country.
rabies neutralizing antibodies test. As always, it should be carried out in a laboratory approved by the EU.
Health certificate between 5 and 10 days before the day of export. Just approved veterinarians.
A special import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture (this permit is valid for one year).
Internal and external parasitic treatments within 10 days prior to departure.
And here we come with the really bad news, my friends. Your dog will necessarily go through a 4-week quarantine. All dogs, including service and emotional support dogs. What I do not know is if this also applies to dogs from the nationalities already mentioned... I suppose not, but I have not found anything that says otherwise.
On the other hand, some breeds, as well as wolf-dog hybrids, are prohibited from entering the country, because they are considered "dangerous". They are basically the same ones that are banned from Australia and New Zealand: Pit Bull (Terrier and American), Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa. This time it seems that the Presa Canarios are in luck.
Finally, the minimum age required for your dog to put his/her paws on its glaciers, volcanoes and hot springs is 7 months. The lucky ones who live in the low risk of rabies countries can enter a little earlier (5 months).
JAPANESE DOG ADVENTURE
The Japanese also have many requirements, but after reading the requirements of the other three countries, it seems like a piece of cake. The best thing is that, although there is a mandatory quarantine, this is only a maximum of 12 hours, if your “dog” meets the criteria. These are a little more of the same. Here we go.
Microchip that meets ISO standards 11784 and 11785.
Rabies vaccine, to be administered after the implantation of the chip. The rabies vaccine should be administered two or more times (inactivated vaccine), with an interval of at least 31 days between the two doses. The minimum age for your dog to receive the vaccine is 91 days.
Rabies neutralizing antibodies test. The blood sample will be sent to a laboratory designated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Policy of Japan. The result of the test will be valid for two years from the time the blood sample is taken. The date of collection of the sample as well as the result of the analyzes will be indicated on the certificate issued by the competent body of the state of the exporting country. I have not found if there are countries exempt from this, but there are likely some, and would be the same as for Iceland.
A notice (fax or mail) must be sent to the animal quarantine station that has jurisdiction over the airport (or seaport, if you are coming by boat) relative to the anticipated arrival of the animal with a minimum advance of 40 days.
Upon receiving the notice, the animal quarantine station will provide the importer with an authorization to inspect imported animals by fax, email or conventional mail. The receipt number and the inspection authorization will be necessary at the time of importation.
Clinical inspection of the animal by a veterinarian, within two days prior to the trip, in order to confirm that your dog is healthy and there is no suspicion of he/she suffers from rabies and leptospirosis.
Health certificate from the competent state agency of the exporting country (approved veterinarian). It will include information relevant to the chip data, rabies vaccines, serological tests (results and dates), the veterinary declaration that the animal is not infected and does not have a suspicion of being infected with rabies, and vaccinations (other) and antiparasitic treatments performed on the animal. This certificate must be presented at the animal quarantine station upon arrival in Japan.
I conclude this article in the same way I started it. If you have to travel to some of these countries because it is the dream of your life or because you have received a job offer that you can not refuse, go for it. But if you have other destinations in mind, my advice is that you go to the most permissive in terms of canine immigration. Your dog will be grateful to you, and you too (to yourself)!
I hope this information has been useful, but do not stop going to the consulate of the country of destination you want to visit to get specific and last minute information (there may be changes in dog migration policies!), as well as to your veterinarian, who hopefully can advise you with his/her canine wisdom. Or maybe your vet has no idea about traveling with a dog to Japan...