Health Certificates for Travel

Are you traveling with your pet? Please make sure that you allow yourself plenty of time to

research and plan

prior to traveling, since many requirements are time sensitive. Everyone wants things to go as smoothly as possible when traveling, especially when taking our pets along! It is important to realize that there is a great deal of paperwork and regulations involved when choosing to travel with your pet.

Health Certificate FAQs

If your pet is crossing state lines your pet must be accompanied by a valid rabies certificate, and a health certificate may be required by the state. If your pet is crossing international borders a health certificate is required. The health certificate, also known as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), is an official document stating that an animal has been examined by a licensed, USDA-accredited veterinarian and has been found free of communicable diseases or parasites as of the day the Certificate is issued. If a veterinarian is concerned that your pet has a communicable disease, he/she cannot issue a health certificate. Also, the certificate lists the recent vaccine types and dates of administration. States and countries require different vaccines for travel. Most require microchip identification, blood testing, quarantine, or other specialized forms. You will need a CVI specific to the state or country of destination, and some airlines require a separate Acclimation Certificate. Both of these certificates can only be completed and signed by an accredited veterinarian. 

When you return home, we may recommend a follow-up examination to make sure that your pet did not acquire any disease or parasites while traveling.

Same-day health certificate appointments may be available, but is dependent on doctor availability. Please refer to the checklist below for what you will need in regard to calling airlines, readying rabies and other certificates, and the difference between Hawaii and other states. International health certificates are very complicated and time sensitive. Please plan appropriately. We recommend using a pet shipping broker/pet transporter for international travel, as the logistics of international pet travel continue to become more complicated. There are several available in the Houston area.

For traveling with your pet within the United States of America (except Hawaii):
     1. Health certificates do not need to be endorsed by the USDA, but do need to be signed by a veterinarian
     2.Most interstate travel requires a health certificate; this is especially important for airline travel
          a. Visit… to find what is required for the state that you are traveling to
          b. Call the airline to find out their requirements
               i. Travel carrier requirements
               ii. Location of pet in plane
               iii. Sedation policy
               iv. Health certificate / vaccination / parasite control requirements
          c. Provide a copy of current rabies certificate, if not performed at Triangle Animal Clinic
     3. Keep a copy of your domestic health certificate with you while traveling
     4. Domestic health certificates are typically valid for ten (10) days when flying and thirty (30) days if traveling by land
     5. If traveling to Hawaii, please see the USDA’s website for this state’s unique requirements
     6. Please complete this form and drop off your pet’s documentation to Triangle Animal Clinic 48 hours prior to the date of the health certificate examination

For traveling with your pet outside of the United States of America, including Hawaii:
     1. Visit… and research the requirements of the country you are visiting
          a. Be sure to check regularly as requirements can change without notice
          b. Verify if your pet will automatically be quarantined (this is based on the destination country’s quarantine policy)
          c. Many countries have specific microchip requirements
          d. Look for additional testing requirements prior to travel, such as vaccine titers, parasite testing or treatment, etc., prior to travel
               i. Some of these tests are required weeks to months prior to travel – plan accordingly!
     2. Call the airline to find out their requirements
          a. Travel carrier requirements
          b. Location of pet in plane
          c. Sedation policy
          d. Health certificate / vaccination / parasite control requirements
     3. Have definitive travel plans with specific dates and a DESTINATION ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER
     4. Determine if USDA endorsement is required
          a. Endorsement fees and schedule is available at…
          b. Endorsement fees are paid at the time of USDA endorsement and are separate from the fees Triangle Animal Clinic may charge to issue the certificate or documents
     5. Health certificates typically need to be issued within ten (10) days of travel, but that needs to consider the logistics of having the document sent to the USDA’s office in Austin to be endorsed, returned, and office hours
     6. Please complete this form and have your pet’s complete medical records, forms and previously prepared documentation transferred to Triangle Animal Clinic 48 hours prior to the date of the health certificate examination

You and your family may choose to bring your pet along on a cruise. If your pet will be leaving the boat or ship, he or she may also have to meet the requirements of each country where your pet will be off-loading. The first step when facilitating a pet export by ship is to obtain the itinerary information. Once the itinerary information has been obtained, we can contact the local USDA-APHIS office for guidance on what health certificates and additional documents your pet may need based on your travel itinerary. Commercial cruise ships that allow pets to travel may have additional requirements. You should check with your cruise line to determine what requirements they may have, if any.

After your pet’s examination, the Health Certificate will be sent overnight to the State Veterinarian in Austin. Alternatively, you can take the Certificate in person to be endorsed Monday through Friday from 7:30 am – 1:30 pm (walk in only). Allow at least 3-5 business days for processing via mail. Most health certificates are only valid for ten (10) days following the date of issue, including shipping/processing time.

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