Pet Passports: New Challenges - Veterinary Practice
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Pet Passports: New Challenges

Although the PETS scheme was simplified in 2014, rather than seeing a reduction in claims as expected, the Society has witnessed a steady annual rise in claims associated with either pet passport preparation, or errors in complying with the stringent export requirements for emigrating pets.

OV Magazine fully understands the pressures of modern practice life, but regrettably, the majority of claims could be avoided if members delegated to an eagle-eyed in-house proofreader, before issuing paperwork. This would avoid basic clerical errors in certification such as the transposition of microchip numbers, incorrect dates, or missing information.

Moreover, our attempts to defend most export claims on the basis that regulators consider the ultimate responsibility for possessing valid paperwork to rest with the owner, are thwarted by our good-natured, ever helpful members, perhaps inadvisably bending over backwards to get involved in the whole process; even when professional shippers have been instructed by the owners. In turn, the shippers appear only too keen to direct any additional costs associated with any errors onto the veterinary profession.

To avoid the hassle, embarrassment, and risk of expensive claims, we reiterate that unless members are fully aware of the ever-changing requirements, the best practice is to act more as a technician than adviser. This may take the form of directing the owner to the various sources of information available online, or suggesting they follow the advice of a professional shipping company. To assist, we have links to all of the relevant websites that members can provide to their clients. These are freely available on the Society’s website as a download, together with a pet owner leaflet setting out their responsibilities.

Forewarned is forearmed, of course, so although this is undoubtedly not an exhaustive list of the difficulties members may come across, the following summary provides the typical background to claims handled by the Society in more recent times.

Pet Passports

  • Failure to ensure the owner knows it is ultimately their responsibility to have a valid passport for their pet. Preferably, this information should be provided in writing.
  • Simple clerical errors, typically involving transposing numerals in microchip numbers or inserting incorrect dates.Insertion of the microchip post-dating administration of the Rabies vaccination.
  • Failing to follow appropriate Rabies vaccination booster intervals in accordance with the manufacturer’s SPC.
  • Failing to follow the ‘30-day rule’ for unlisted countries outside the EU, which dictates that the pet must have a blood test 30 days post-rabies vaccination.
  • Failing to inform the owner that, for unlisted countries outside the EU, they must wait for 3 calendar months post-rabies serology test, prior to export.
  • Failure to follow the ’21-day rule’ for listed countries (date of administration of Rabies vaccine counting as day 0 not 1)
  • Failure to read the microchip at the point of issuing passport.
  • Administrating Rabies vaccine to animals less than 12 weeks of age.
  • Failing to ensure Rabies vaccination cover is still in date when other routine booster vaccination details are added to the Pets Passport.
  • Failure to make owner aware of need to get appropriate tapeworm treatment for their dog 1 -5 days prior to re-entry.
  • Failure to use new Pet Passport certificates and completing old style ones instead.
  • Failing to read the microchip if a client presents the animal to the practice for a ‘final check’ prior to the pet going overseas.
  • Issuing an incomplete or even a blank passport.
  • Failure to note presence of second chip.
  • Failing to revaccinate a pet and issue a new passport in situations where the original microchip cannot be read and a new chip has to be inserted.
  • Failing to record both microchip numbers in situations where a chip is intermittently failing and a new chip has to be inserted.
  • Failing to strike out, initial, and stamp alterations.

Health Certification for Export

  • Failure to ensure owner knows it is ultimately their responsibility to have a valid export paperwork for their pet. Preferably this information should be provided in writing.
  • Relaxing when a professional shipper is involved, rather than making sure both the owner and shipper are aware they have the ultimate responsibility for the validity of the paperwork.
  • Administration of a leptospirosis vaccine to a dog bound for the antipodean close to the timing of obtaining serological titres.
  • Administration of the incorrect endo or ecto-parasiticide products for export to the antipodean countries.
  • Failure to follow time guidelines for administration of endo or ecto-parasiticide products for export to the antipodean countries.
  • Failing to check if the importing country requires the original rabies vaccination batch number stickers to be applied to the paperwork.
  • Failing to ensure all relevant paperwork for both importing and exporting countries has been seen and read prior to paperwork completion.
  • Failing to strike out, initial, and stamp alterations.

Although no doubt there are other ways in which members may come a cropper, we hope by ensuring you do not fall foul of these common pitfalls via a simple checklist, claims will inevitably fall.

With this checklist in place both pets and their owners will be more likely to enjoy a stress-free break.

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