This is Buffy.
She’s a bull terrier pup and we are just beginning the EU pet passport process for her, so that we can take her over to our holiday home in Surtainville. After all, we love it over there so why shouldn’t she have the chance to enjoy the place as well?
DEFRA regulations allow dogs (and cats) to be issued with a pet passport once they have been microchipped for identification purposes and vaccinated against rabies. The passport allows them to enter most EU countries – so if you’re moving to France with your pet for good, you can travel 21 days after the date of the vaccination. However to re-enter the UK the animal will require a veterinary certificate which shows that the vaccine has done what it ought to do and the rabies-neutralising antibodies are present in your pet’s bloodstream.
This certificate won’t be valid until six calendar months have passed from the date on which the blood sample which gave a satisfactory test result was taken. So if you want to take your pet with you when you go on holiday then you have to plan ahead – essentially, so you can bring them back to UK with you, you’ll have to have arranged for them to be microchipped, inoculated against rabies, tested and waited the six months.
The first step in the process for Buffy started when she was eleven weeks old, when we took her to the vets to have her second instalment of inoculations – the standard ones against distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza etc. The first injection had been given two weeks previously These were administered without difficulty – a quick injection in the loose skin of her back – and caused her no distress. (She did give the vet a little nip on the arm, but that was only because he didn’t move quickly enough and was a token of love, really).
We also took the opportunity to have her microchipped, which was done by the veterinary nurse and who Buffy didn’t try to bite, probably because she (the dog, not the nurse) had been bribed with a dog biscuit beforehand. The needle used to inject the microchip into the back of Buffy’s neck was quite thick and the nurse warned that some dogs found it painful – bull terriers though are clearly made of sterner stuff and Buffy didn’t react at all. We also took the opportunity to weigh Buffy – two weeks previously she’d weighed 7kg but was now up to 9.4kg, a rate of growth which we found rather unnerving! Full-grown adult bullies can tip the scales at 30kg or more so she’s some way to go yet.
The nurse scanned the microchip to check that it had been implanted correctly and was working as it should. Of course pet owners will often choose to have their animals microchipped even if they’re not intending to take them out of the UK as it’s an invaluable means of identification if the pet is lost or stolen.
The next step in the passport process will be the rabies vaccination itself. This can’t be done before Buffy is twelve weeks old so we’ve made an appointment for two weeks hence.
Peter and Sue