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Kennels, vaccines and pet passports

Living

What pet owners need to know when planning their holidays

The vet's view
Conal Finnerty

Whether you argue that summer starts on May 1 or June 1, we can all agree I’m sure that the summer season is now well and truly upon us. People are making plans to travel for sun holidays and for many other reasons, such as visiting friends and family. The question arises if you are a pet owner, what to do with Rover or Sheba while I am away? Do I leave them with a neighbour or friend, do I place them in a boarding facility or do I indeed bring them with me?
Whatever you decide, it’s vital that some planning is done well in advance. Perhaps the neighbour or friend that you plan on asking is going to be away themselves or otherwise unavailable. If you plan on booking a boarding facility, they will want some advance notice, and your pet will need to be up to date with their annual vaccines. Dogs will also need to have had their kennel-cough vaccine (every reputable boarding facility will insist on this) before they will take them.
Lots of people every year mistakenly believe that the kennel cough vaccine is given as part of the annual vaccine programme, but this is not usually the case. It is a completely separate and distinct vaccine.
Even more important still is advance planning if you are going to bring your pet on vacation or overseas for any reason, as this involves getting a Pet Passport, issued by the Department Of Agriculture through vet practices. This is not a quick and simple document to get, as there are now strict guidelines governing animal movements between different countries, both within and outside of the EU.
Moreover, should the British leave the EU, there will be changes to the regulations governing the movement of pets between all EU states and the UK, including to and from Ireland. It is the pet owners’ responsibility to make themselves aware of both the existing regulations and any potential changes should Brexit happen.
The current situation is that your pet needs to have a Pet Passport, detailing the owners’ details, the animal’s details, their microchip number and evidence of a rabies vaccine and up-to-date routine vaccines. Worming and other parasitic treatments should be documented also.
A follow-up blood test will be needed to determine if an adequate immune response has occurred to the rabies vaccine if the owner wishes to bring their pet to the UK and return to Ireland, should Brexit happen, so owner beware.
Countries outside the EU have their own unique set of guidelines on the criteria for admitting pets to their jurisdiction. Indeed, the criteria set down by different states within the US can differ. It is therefore advisable to contact the Department Of Agriculture (or equivalent) in whatever country you wishes to travel to with your pet, to make sure they are covered for travel.
Remember, planning well in advance, whatever those plans may be, both for yourself and your pet, should increase the chances of a happy and stress-free trip.

Veterinarian Conal Finnerty MRCVS practises at the Skeldale Vet Clinic in Ballinrobe and Belmullet. Follow the clinic on Facebook, or call 094 9541980 or 087 9185350 to make an appointment.