September 22, 2021 Dogs One Health Traveling with Pets

Canine Importation and Travel Bans: What You Need to Know

A dog looking out an airplane window

Canine Importation and Travel Bans: What You Need to Know

World Rabies Day, September 28, 2021, is a global health observance to raise awareness about rabies and to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide. Rabies has recently been in the news and is affecting international travel for dogs. Let’s take a look at what this means for pet owners.

CDC’s Canine Importation Ban

As of July 14, the United States Centers for Disease Control banned the importation of dogs from more than 100 countries for at least a year due to a sharp increase in fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates. The list includes countries from every continent and focuses on countries with high risk for importing dogs with rabies. If you are a US citizen living in one of the countries affected by the importation ban and you want to return to the US with your dog, you will need a CDC dog import permit which are being issued in limited numbers. The ban also limits your airport of entry to a restricted list.

Canine Travel Ban

In addition to the importation ban, the CDC is restricting international travel for American pet dogs to high-risk rabies countries. This means if your dog was counting on a vacation to the Dominican Republic with the family, it might not be possible due to the ban. The ban also applies to dogs who have traveled to one of the countries considered high-risk for rabies in the past 6 months, even if they are returning to the United States from a low-risk country. The ban is currently considered temporary, and perhaps your entire family can enjoy an island vacation in the future.

Importing Rabies

In a recent post on his blog “Worms and Germs,” Dr. Scott Weese, a Canadian veterinary infectious disease expert, details the case of a rabid dog imported to Canada from one of the CDC’s high-risk countries. In June of this year, the same thing happened in the US, where a dog arrived from a high-risk country and subsequently developed rabies, exposing at least 12 people to the lethal virus.

Your Dog’s Rabies Certificate

The CDC’s importation ban is a response to fraudulent rabies certificates. When your dog gets a rabies vaccination, your veterinarian will issue a rabies certificate. The certificate will list information about you and your dog, the veterinarian administering the vaccination, the serial number manufacturer of the vaccine and when the vaccination expires. Make sure your dog’s microchip number is on the certificate so officials can easily confirm the dog holding the certificate is the one vaccinated. Finally, keep the certificate in a safe place in case you need a copy in a hurry.

Tags: rabies, travel,

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