Procedure Authorizing the Dispatch of Pets Abroad

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The National Service of Agrifood Health and Quality (Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria, Senasa) is the agency of the Argentine Republic recognized worldwide that can issue an International Veterinary Certificate for any cat or dog that for any reason and by any means of transport (by water, air or land) is dispatched abroad. This certificate must be presented to the Competent Authorities of the destination country, as proof that Senasa has followed certain guidelines, detailed in this Procedure, so that they may authorize the entry of the animal.

To this end, Senasa has put in place a Procedure that covers the requirements of most countries or regions of the world that are, in general, uniform and do not vary according to the country of destination to which the animal is sent.

Following guidelines to carry out the procedures that cover the aforementioned requirements allows Senasa to comply with these using an agile and relatively quick method. The interested party may make their application at the “Lazareto Capital” Quarantine Station in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires or at any local Senasa office throughout the country.

To issue an International Veterinary Certificate, basically, Senasa must verify: that any cat or dog over three (3) months of age has been vaccinated against rabies; that a Private Veterinarian with a National or Provincial Registration has issued a Health Certificate that certifies that the animal is in a satisfactory sanitary condition, and that the interested party has paid a fee of $15.84 established by Senasa.

The magnitude and volume of this Procedure carried out by Senasa to issue International Veterinary Certificates for the dispatch of cats and dogs abroad is readily understood if we keep in mind that 2,500 to 4,000 certificates are issued per year. The most frequent countries of destination are bordering countries, the USA and the European Community.

New Requirements

During the last three (3) to five (5) years, the Competent Authorities of different countries or regions of the World have added new requirements to admit cats and dogs to their territories; this has made it necessary for Senasa to reformulate the aforementioned Procedure, adapting it to these requirements.

New requirements have been added related to several aspects – amongst them – those related to sanitary issues such as vaccinations, diagnoses or treatments of certain diseases that may affect these species or those related to the need for identification of the animal by means of a tattoo or microchip, or related to the prohibition of permanently importing dogs with docked tails or cropped ears or related to the requirement of having a prior import permit or related to limitation of the number of animals that may travel unaccompanied or even related to restrictions, because they are considered to have dangerous temperaments, of the importation of breeds or hybrids of cats and dogs.

On the other hand, the requirements in this new Procedure put in place by Senasa for the authorization of dispatch of cats and dogs abroad, are applicable, in most cases, to animals that travel as pets or for commercial reasons, and also animals that travel temporarily abroad.
Amongst the countries that have new requirements, the following may be mentioned: countries of the European Union (e.g. Italy and France), Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

Actions taken by Senasa

Faced with this situation, Senasa has carried out the necessary changes and modifications of their methods so that interested parties who make an application to dispatch cats or dogs abroad do not run into difficulties either in the Republic of Argentina or in the destination country.

Based on the aforementioned, there follows a list of the most important actions taken by Senasa at the time of drawing up this Procedure.

1. Coordination of activities with official national and provincial health authorities of the Republic of Argentina to verify the exact situation of the country as relates to urban rabies and to carry out the corresponding epidemiological studies.

2. Exchange of sanitary information with official and private health professionals to determine the presence and characteristics of the diseases that affect cats and dogs in the Republic of Argentina.

3. Organization of and participation in meetings with the purposes of sharing information and achieving coordination with:

a) Authorities of the Veterinary Professional Council and the Veterinary College of the Province of Buenos Aires; b) Representatives of the health area of the Argentine Provinces; c) Members of diplomatic or consular services of foreign countries in the Republic of Argentina.

4. Drawing up of sanitary reports and statistical reports for their presentation to and discussion with the pertinent technical agencies of the European Union, which allowed the Republic of Argentina to be considered to be in a favorable situation with reference to rabies in cats and dogs.

5. Inclusion of the Republic of Argentina in July 2005 – as a consequence of the situation mentioned in the previous paragraph – in the list of countries excepted from performing rabies neutralizing antibodies titration in the blood of animals with destination the European Union, in laboratories authorized by the European Union in the European Union or in the USA.

6. This exception noted in the previous paragraph allows interested parties in Argentina to send cats or dogs to the European Union without the cost of carrying out said titration in foreign laboratories and cuts down the time of the procedure since before this the Procedure required a waiting time of between four (4) to five (5) months.

7. The need for a larger number of Senasa administrative and professional personal to cover these international requirements.

8. The laying down of new guidelines to be followed by Senasa personnel at border points in the Republic of Argentina (airports, ports and international bridges) through which cats and dogs travel abroad.

9. Longer hours of customer service at the “Lazareto Capital” Qurantine Station for dealing with interested parties who require a Senasa International Veterinary Certificate to dispatch their cats and dogs abroad.

10. The purchase of new elements necessary to comply with the new requirements, such as electronic readers of transponders (microchips), metallic gurneys and other devices for veterinary use.

11. Modification and updating of the new models of forms and veterinary certificates now in force together with the new Procedure.

12. Coordination of laboratory procedures related to the immunological properties and control of the rabies vaccines for cats and dogs.

13. Publication and updating on Internet of information for the use of interested parties in the country and abroad.

Other Subjects of Interest

The guidelines for the Procedure put in place by Senasa for the dispatch of cats and dogs abroad have been discussed in this document grouped according to the requirements of countries or regions of the world. Below are a number of points valid for all countries, which must be kept in mind.

Registration of the Private Veterinarian that interested parties must contact in any region of the country to follow certain guidelines of the Procedure put in place by Senasa.

It is necessary for a Private Veterinarian to be registered according to their respective geographical jurisdiction and authorized by a professional veterinary college in the Republic of Argentina.

In the case of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires a Private Veterinarian must be registered with the Veterinary Professional Council and in the case of the Province of Buenos Aires with the Veterinary Collage of the Province of Buenos Aires.

As has been mentioned, Senasa has carried out meetings with and agreed actions with the authorities of the Professional Councils to – amongst other things- obtain a list of Veterinary Professionals in good standing with said councils who can therefore certify different steps in this Procedure.

Those interested parties who wish to know more about registration of professionals in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires or in the Province of Buenos Aires may telephone requesting information.

Veterinary Professional Council: 4322 - 2494

College of Veterinarians of the Province of Buenos Aires: 0221 - 4232685

Specific Forms to Register Certain Veterinary Procedures:

When a professional association (for example the Veterinary Council) has specific forms for a certificate issued by its registered professionals (for example the Veterinary Council Form for Rabies Vaccination) the certificates that must be issued by a Private Veterinarian in the corresponding geographic area and subsequently presented to Senasa or the Competent Authorities of the destination country according to this Procedure will only be accepted if they use the specific required forms of the professional association.

Rabies Vaccine for Cats and Dogs

The rabies vaccines applied by Private Veterinarians to cats and dogs to be dispatched abroad must be approved by Senasa’s Direction of Laboratories and Technical Control (DILACOT).

If the interested party has any queries as to this, they must call the Coordination of General Virology, Rabies Department, DILACOT, telephone number: 4836-1112/4/6/7, Extension 112.