Animal Health Certificates: Returning to the UK
In this post, we run through exactly what you need to do to return to the UK on an Animal Health Certificate.
Animal Health Certificates are valid for 4 months of travel within the EU, or until your pet's rabies vaccination expires, whichever date is earlier. See here for more information on AHC validity. Before you return to the UK, depending on what species of pet you have, you may need to take them to a vet for tapeworm treatment and this needs to be recorded on the Animal Health Certificate.
If you're travelling with a cat or ferret, there are no additional requirements to return to the UK. You will just need to show the Animal Health Certificate at the UK border.
If you're travelling with a dog directly back to the UK from Southern Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta, then there are no additional requirements to return to the UK, other than showing the Animal Health Certificate at the border.
If you're travelling with a dog, back to the UK from any other country in the EU apart from the 5 countries listed above, then you will need to take them to a vet within 1 and 5 days before the dog's scheduled arrival time in the UK, for the vet to administer tapeworm treatment and record this on the Animal Health Certificate. You'll then need to show the Animal Health Certificate at the UK border where they will check that the tapeworm treatment details have been recorded.
What is tapeworm treatment and why does my dog need it?
The tapeworm “Echinococcus multilocularis” is a significant cause of morbidity and reduced life expectancy in mainland Europe among animals. This particular species of tapeworm can also infect humans and causes parasitic tumours that can form in the liver, lungs, brain, and other organs and, if left untreated, can be fatal.
The compulsory worming treatment for your dog required to enter the UK has kept the UK free from this parasite. If administered more than 5 days before arrival in UK, then there is opportunity for reinfection, so by requiring vets to administer the worming between 1-5 days before arrival into the UK (or other tapeworm free countries), the risk of the introduction of this deadly parasite to the UK is minimised.
When does tapeworm treatment need to be administered?
All dogs entering the UK from the EU (apart from those coming directly from Southern Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta) need to have tapeworm treatment administered by a vet not less than 24 hours (1 day) and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before the dog's scheduled arrival time in the UK.
Most vets in France are familiar with having to do this, as it's been a requirement for many years, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a vet to get this done. Some people try to organise this before they go, but many people just arrange to visit a vet whilst they're out there.
Generally vets nearer to the ports charge more for this treatment, so we would advise trying to visit a vet near to where you are staying whilst on holiday.
If you are travelling to France and returning to the UK within 5 days, the tapeworm treatment can be administered by a vet in the UK before your outbound journey to France.
Where do the tapeworm treatment details need to be recorded?
Once the vet has scanned your dog's microchip and administered the tapeworm tablet(s), they will need to record this information on the Animal Health Certificate you were issued with in the UK.
The page where the tapeworm details needs to be recorded differs depending on the language your Animal Health Certificate it is in, but for French or Spanish AHCs, it needs to be recorded in the table at the bottom of page 4.
The vet will need to write in the pet's microchip, the name and manufacturer of the product used, the date and time it was administered, along with their name, stamp and signature.
See the below table for an example completed version:
What types of tapeworm treatment are accepted?
The tapeworm treatment must contain and ingredient called praziquantel in order for it to be valid for returning to the UK.
Examples of tapeworm treatment products that contain praziquantel:
If you use PassPets for your AHC, you can purchase the correct tapeworm tablets at the appointment so you can hand these to the vet in the EU to administer and record on the Animal Health Certificate.
Please note, if the tapeworm treatment is not administered within the correct time period, if it is recorded on the AHC incorrectly, or if not the correct parasite treatment is used, then it will result in your dog being refused travel.
If you have any questions on taking your pet abroad, or if you would like some more information about our low-cost AHC service, please feel free to get in touch.