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Pet Passports

Going abroad and don’t want to leave your pet behind? If so then help is at hand through the Pet Passport Scheme.

At Abercorn we will talk you through the procedure of getting a Pet Passport which avoids the need for your animal to go into lengthy quarantine on your return to the UK from Europe.

We will take care of the paperwork to ensure that you abide by the rules as laid out under the Pet Passport Scheme


If you are intending to take your pet abroad for the first time then please feel free to contact the practice and ask for advice. It’s always better to plan ahead and give yourself adequate time.


The process of supplying a Pet Passport can only proceed following clear and secure identification of your pet. This is of course done by means of a microchip – a small device about the size of a grain of rice, that is implanted under the skin, typically between the shoulder blades. Each microchip has a unique 15 digit number which can be “read” by means of a special scanner. The vet will firstly scan your pet to ensure that they have been microchipped* and that their chip is “reading” correctly. If your pet has not been microchipped the vet will proceed to do so.

* As of 6th April 2016, it became compulsory for all dogs in Scotland over 8 weeks of age to be microchipped.


The second stage in the Pet Passport process is vaccination against rabies. This can be done on the same day as microchipping, or scanning of an existing microchip,  but must be done after either procedure and not before.  The rabies vaccine we use has a three year product licence, meaning that “booster vaccinations” are only required every three years rather than annually. As with the standard vaccinations your pet receives, it is given by a relatively painless injection under the skin.


The Pet Passport itself can only be issued by an “OV” or “official veterinarian”. The OV for Abercorn Vets is Victor Bates. The passport itself looks rather like a UK passport in shape and size, except that it is blue. There are sections for recording the owner’s name and address, the pet’s description, including species, breed, age gender and colour (and if they exist, any unusual distinguishing marks). Further pages record  the microchip details, the OV details (including his/her official stamp), and finally the dates and details of the rabies vaccination.


Whilst a passport can be issued at the earliest opportunity following rabies vaccination, it is not valid until 21 days after the vaccination. Pets are not allowed to leave Britain until this period of time has elapsed. (In the case of pets that have pre-existing passports, and where the previous rabies vaccine has not expired prior to a booster being given, this 21 day rule does not apply)


Tapeworm treatment

The UK government requires that dogs travelling to Europe on a Pet Passport are treated for tapeworm. The treatment must be with an approved product and given not less than 24 hours or more than 120 hrs (i.e. 1-5 days), prior to return to the UK. The treatment has to be administered by a veterinarian who is then responsible for recording the details within the passport. Though the “window” for treatment is quite large, we would still recommend that you plan ahead if possible. As the Pet Passport scheme has been in existence for some years now, finding a veterinarian who is familiar with the process shouldn’t be too difficult.


Is there anything else you need to be aware of? Tick borne diseases…

There are certain tick borne diseases that dogs can contract when on the continent. One or two of these can cause serious illness and even death, and therefore at Abercorn we strongly recommend that if you are travelling to the continent with your dog that you treat him / her with a reliable tick product before you leave the UK. There are several options available, and your vet can discuss which one is most suitable for your particular situation, in particular as regards supplying protection for the whole duration of your trip.

…. and Leishmaniasis.

Leishmaniasis is a disease which is estimated to affect 2.5 million dogs in Europe. It is transmitted by biting flies and is mostly prevalent in countries around the Mediterranean Sea and Portugal. Leishmaniasis can cause a range of signs from skin disease and chronic weight loss to anaemia, kidney failure and death.  It is not curable, although cases can often be controlled using long term medication. In 2012 a vaccine against leishmaniasis called “CaniLeish” was launched; this reduces the risk of contracting this potentially deadly infection.  Your vet can discuss whether the use of this vaccine is appropriate for your dog or not, as well as additional measures, such as the use of a fly repellant collar*.

* “Scalibor”

How much will a Pet Passport cost?

A Pet Passport will currently cost you £35 which is exclusive of the rabies vaccination, the cost of which is £65.

And finally!…

You may want to check the official government website that deals with Pet Passports for yourself. If so, you can do so by clicking here.