When you are travelling with your pet cat or dog to an international destination, vaccinations are one of the first steps in the transport process. Every country has different regulations when it comes to vaccinations and ensuring your pet is fully vaccinated is very important for international pet travel.
France is a rabies-free country, and all pets flying to France must be immunised against rabies before they travel. If you are travelling to France with your pet dog or cat, here’s what you should know about the vaccination schedule for international pet travel to France.
Check your country category
In international pet travel, categories have been created based on the country’s rabies status. Category 1 countries are usually rabies-free and pets travelling to these countries must fulfil all vaccination criteria satisfactorily to enter these countries. Category 2 countries have a low incidence of rabies, and Category 3 countries have a high incidence of rabies.
Travelling between countries in the same category is generally simpler than between countries where rabies is present to countries with zero incidence of rabies.
France recognises the following categories for international pet travel:
- EU member countries
- Third countries – European countries and other countries with zero rabies are included in this category. They are Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, BES Islands, Bosnia-Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Curaçao, Faroe Islands, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Greenland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vanuatu, Vatican City State, and Wallis and Futuna.
- Unlisted countries – These are countries with a high incidence of rabies. All countries not mentioned in the above two categories fall into the third category.
Vaccination schedule for pets travelling from the EU and third countries
All pet dogs and cats travelling to France must be vaccinated against rabies before their flight. If your pet is travelling from an EU country or a third country, they need a rabies vaccination course before they fly. They must receive the vaccination a least 21 days before the date of journey, and the vet must record all vaccine details such as the batch number, date of administration and date of expiry in the pet passport.
Remember to implant the microchip before the rabies vaccination, if your pet doesn’t already have one. Be sure to vaccinate your pet with a WHO-approved recombinant or inactivated rabies vaccine per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Vaccination schedule for pets travelling from unlisted countries
Unlisted countries have a high incidence of rabies, and therefore, all pets must be effectively immunised before travelling from these countries into France. The effectiveness of the rabies vaccine can be tested using the rabies titre test or rabies neutralising antibody titre test. Blood for the titre test must be drawn 30 days after the vaccination and must be sent to an EU-authorised lab for analysis.
The antibody test identifies the level of rabies antibodies in the blood sample; your pet must have not less than 0.5 IU/ml to meet EU standards. Your pet dog or cat must wait for three months from the date of the titre test before travelling to France.
Call the international pet travel experts
There is more to international pet travel to France than the vaccination schedule; your pet must satisfy all pet import criteria to be able to enter the country. International pet relocation during your own relocation can be challenging and perplexing, especially for first-time travellers. An accredited pet travel agent can help you manage the relocation and make sure your pet has a pleasant pet travel experience.
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