Pet Passports - why wait?

At the BSAVA veterinary congress in Birmingham they are discussing the proposal to get rid of the massive delay between applying for and getting a pet passport - to bring us in line with the rest of Europe.
At the moment you need to start the process seven months before you travel, and for many people this is very difficult to foresee. Not many of us get seven months notice of a job transferring overseas or of a relative needing you to look after them after a fall.
The current economic crisis has seen lots of people in Spain caught out. The pound euro exchange rate tumble has reduced UK pensions by 30% and many have had to return to England in a great hurry when they'd hoped to spend their twilight years in their new home. Sadly the seven month wait for passport approval has led to many dogs and cats being put to sleep or abandoned in kennels as pensioners struggle to pay the kennel fees.
What do you think, should we speed up the passport process? The six month wait is after a successful blood test to show the vaccine worked, no further tests are done after the six month wait.
Are we being overly picky on this point and does it make us less secure rather than more? Does having this huge time lag encourage desperate people to smuggle rather than abandon their pets?
What do you think?

I have to admit I haven't used the Pet Passport scheme. Below is copy and pasted from Defra's website and so far as I can see there are no tests done after the first blood test - then there seems to be a six month wait and no re-test. If this is not the case I have to say Defra's website is very misleading!

Blood testing and the 6 month rule

After vaccination against rabies, you may take a blood sample from the animal and send it to be analysed at an at an EU-approved laboratory. Read the microchip before taking the sample.

The vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet will give the best time for a blood sample to be taken after vaccination. You may wish to give your client a signed record of the date the sample was taken with the microchip number correctly stated.

Where the blood sample is analysed

The blood sample must be analysed EU-approved laboratory. An analysis carried out before the recognition date of the laboratory is not acceptable.

Ask the laboratory for the correct submission form and advice on labelling and delivery of the sample. Make sure that the microchip number and the date the blood sample was taken are accurately and clearly recorded on the submission form.

Laboratory containment requirements

Blood test result

A satisfactory test result must show that the rabies neutralising antibody titre was equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml. The test result must show the animal’s microchip number. If it does not, ask the laboratory for one that does. Give your client a certified copy of the result and keep the original at your practice.

Failed blood tests

If an animal fails the blood test, the test must be repeated and this may be done following revaccination depending on your advice to the client. The 6 calendar month wait before entering the UK (see below) would start from the date that a subsequent blood sample that gave a satisfactory result was taken.

Further blood tests

No further blood tests are required following a satisfactory result as long as the animal is revaccinated against rabies on time.

The 6 month rule for entering or re-entering the UK

A dog or cat may not enter or re-enter the UK until 6 calendar months have passed from the date that the blood sample which gave a satisfactory test result was taken.


Jenny said…
I am a bit confused. Our dogs travelled with us to Malta 3 years ago so we had to get them pet passports. I am pretty sure the injections were done and then it was the 6 month wait until the blood test could be done, to prove that the injections had worked. So what I mean is, the blood test is done at the 6 month point and that is why the whole process takes 6 months (minimum).... isn't it?
Chloe said…
i also thought the blood test was done 6 months after the rabies vaccination - i havent been through the process myself but know a few that have - personally if i was living abroad with my dogs i would have their pet passport up to date incase of any eventuallity that would require me to return to the UK at little notice
Anonymous said…
Microchip, vacinate, approx 30 days post vacination draw bloods. Good result equals entry to the UK On Passport 6mths to the day from bloods taken.

No more bloods are drawn once you've got a good titre result, it is literally doing the quarantinee overseas rather than in UK Kennels.

Gone through this 3 times now only thing that's changed in last 4 yrs is timing of bloods drawn for testing. Used to be mini 30 days now its whenever manufacturers recommend.
Unknown said…
Have had two of mine done recently. They were already chipped. Had their rabies vaccine, waited 4 weeks then had their bloods sent off. Their wait is 6 months from the date of their blood test.

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