Transporting an animal across a border
Probably, many pet owners have faced the problem of crossing boarders with their pet or transporting them out of our country. There are certain requirements and procedures that must be carried out before embarking on a journey involving your pet or animal that will be transported outside of Bulgaria.
The requirements for animals that will be transported within the countries of the European Union and outside the territory of the European Union are different.
I. Transport of animals in the member states of the European Union
The most important requirement for the passage of pets across the border is the presence of a passport in which all necessary vaccinations and manipulations have been entered by a veterinarian. The passport is issued according to the relevant model and has the following characteristics:
1. Details of the pet’s owner, which includes the three names and address.
2. Description of the animal – name, species, breed, sex, date of birth, fur (color and type) and, if desired, a photo of the animal.
3. Identification of the animal: microchip number, date of insertion, location of the microchip.
4. Vaccination against rabies – date of vaccination, manufacturer of the vaccine – name of the product and batch number, the date until which the vaccine is valid, signature and official stamp (stamp with the name, place of work and the number with which the doctor in question is registered in the National Veterinary Medical Service).
5. Serological test for rabies (blood sample) – should be done in a laboratory approved by the EU.
6. Additional serological test – in case the results of the first test were not satisfactory.
7. Information on treatment for ticks – enter the manufacturer and name of the product, as well as the date of treatment and the expiration date.
8. Treatment for echinococci: again, note the manufacturer and name of the product, as well as the date of treatment and the expiration date.
9. Information on other vaccinations.
10. Clinical examinations – certify that the animal can withstand the relevant journey.
11. Legalization – enter the name of the legalizing authority, the date and add a signature and stamp.
12. The last section may contain additional data of a different nature, entitled “Other.”
The passport is blue in color and the data in it is filled in the official language of the EU member state (for Bulgaria in Bulgarian).
One of the most important requirements is that the animal has been identified by a unique mark. This can be achieved by tattooing or inserting of an identification microchip containing a 10-digit unique code that belongs only to the animal in question.
Tattooing is a relatively old method of animal identification. This can be a problem, as some countries do not recognize tattooing as a method of identification due to the possibility of the mark being counterfeited.
Microchipping of animals is required in all countries of the European Union. The microchip is an electronic-passive device with an automatically generated 10-digit code. It does not emit electromagnetic waves, and the contained combination of numbers can be read by specific reading devices based on the principle of radio waves. The microchip is placed with one subcutaneous injection, which is an easy and painless manipulation for the animal. After insertion, the veterinarian must read the chip and make sure it is working. This ensures that the inserted microchip is functional.
An important condition is that the microchip is inserted before the rabies vaccine. There are no standard requirements for the type of chip, but border control readers may not be able to read the chip. For this, it is desirable that the microchips used complies with ISO-Standart 11784 or 11785.
If the chip cannot be read by the border authorities, the owner or companion of the animal will be charged for providing another reading device. Most chips used in Bulgaria are standardized and are read by border reading devices.
Vaccination against rabies
The next important condition is that the animal is vaccinated against rabies after reaching 3 months of age in accordance with the requirements of the vaccine manufacturer and the country being visited.
The rabies vaccine sticker contains the batch number and expiration date of the vaccine. In most cases, it is colored red and must be affixed on the third page of the passport, where there is a separate page for vaccinations and revaccinations against rabies. Any animal over 3 months of age must be vaccinated against rabies and re-vaccinated every subsequent year before the end of the one-year period. This guarantees permanent immunity of the animal against the disease “Rabies”. The date and time of vaccination must be noted.
Deworming against internal parasites (worms and tapeworms)
Dogs, cats and porcupines should be dewormed against canine tapeworms. It must be carried out with a preparation containing Praziquantel. It is necessary for the veterinarian to enter in the passport the date and time of deworming and the type of preparation. Deworming must be done 24-48 hours before the animal’s arrival in the country. If less than 24 hours have passed since the administration of the preparation at the border control, it is possible for the owner or companion and the animal to wait in quarantine until this period expires.
Treatment of animals with products against ticks
Animals that are about to pass through border control need to be treated with anti-tick products, and deworming using anti-parasitic leashes is not recognized. The time, date and dewormer are duly described in the international passport.
Immediately before the trip (24 hours), the animal must be presented for a clinical examination by an authorized veterinarian, who will perform the examination and certify the health certificate on the penultimate page of the international passport.
For countries that are not members of the European Union, there are additional requirements for the passage of companion animals through the border. For example, for importing animals into Turkey, the additional requirements are:
Animals must be vaccinated against rabies after reaching 3 months of age with a vaccine officially approved for use in the country from which the animal is departing.
Dogs and cats must be tested for rabies antibody titer (measures the amount of antibodies in a small amount of blood) in a licensed laboratory. One of the laboratories used as a reference is the Serology Laboratory in Giessen, Germany, headed by Prof. Dr. Thiel. The blood sample should be taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. The sample is considered positive when the titer is above 0.5 IU / ml of blood. The results are filled in a special document.
Animals should be dewormed against canine tapeworm with a product containing Praziquantel. Deworming must be done no earlier than 10 days before departure.
When moving and transporting companion animals from third countries in Bulgaria, the latter must have a passport and a veterinary certificate.
It should be noted that not all dog breeds are allowed to be imported into different countries. For example, Pit Bull, Dogo Argentino, Brazilian Mastiff (Fila Brasileiro) and Tosa Inu breeds are prohibited for import into the UK.
Many owners may need to cross the border with their pets – either for holiday or work. However, before each exit, you should pay attention to the requirements of each individual country for the transport of animals across the border, its legal and statutory features so that the crossing can proceed smoothly.