If you are a registered veterinarian, follow these steps to prepare companion animals for export.
The exporter of the animal must provide the importing country requirements in writing. Exporters can contact the:
- importing country’s government authority
- country’s embassy in Australia.
You must also check the importing country requirements.
Use the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor) and the official website of the importing country government to find out:
- if an import permit is required. Advise your client to apply if required
- if the country requires pre-export isolation of the animal
- what tests, treatments (including vaccinations) and examinations are required
- if the importing country requires you to complete their own pro forma health certificate. You must provide it as an attachment to the health certificate we issue. You can download health certificates for certain countries from Micor.
Import conditions can change without notice. Always check importing requirements before preparing animals for export. If the country’s website or import permit conditions are different to Micor, contact our regional office in the state or territory that the animal is being exported from. You should also forward a copy to us.
Conditions on an issued import permit take precedence over other sources of information. If you are unsure, contact the relevant authority of the importing country or one of our regional offices.
To export dogs and cats to New Zealand, an import permit is not required. Find out more about exporting dogs and cats to New Zealand.
Ask your client if the dog or cat could return to Australia within six months of export. If so, they will need to read about bringing cats and dogs (and other pets) to Australia. They may need to make preparations before the animal leaves Australia.
Before preparing an animal, you must check if they are eligible for export.
Check whether the animal is on a restricted breed or hybrid list in the importing country.
Some airlines restrict breeds that they will transport. You can find this information on the airline’s website. Restricted breeds may include brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs, pugs and Persian cats.
The exporter needs to check if the animal is on the CITES list. Ensure they have checked this before the export process is started.
Desexing status and pregnancy
Check if the animal is desexed or not.
If not desexed, check if the animal is pregnant. If so, check you can export to the importing country. International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards state that you cannot transport dogs and cats in the last third of pregnancy.
Puppies and kittens
Puppies and kittens must be mature enough for export. Some importing countries do not specify this. In these cases we observe the IATA standards. IATA standards state you cannot transport an animal internationally less than 8 weeks of age.
Tell your client to book through a pet transport company or the airline as soon as possible.
Your client must use an acceptable container or crate. They must check the requirements with the pet transport company or the airline. They should also check the airline’s other transit requirements.
You must check the animal’s transport container before export to ensure it:
- meets IATA requirements and is suitable for transport
- is new or disinfected and free from dirt, fleas, ticks and other pests.
Identify the animal
You must be sure the animal listed on the country specific health certificate and import permit (if required) is the animal being exported.
Some countries require an International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) compatible microchip.
- check the importing country requirements to see if the microchip is compatible. If not compatible, insert an appropriate microchip
- ensure you can scan the microchip
- scan and record the microchip at every step of the export process. For example, when vaccinating, testing, treating, examining or inspecting.
Important: Microchips that begin with ‘999’ are not acceptable. They are not ISO compliant, not unique and are prone to fail.
Describe the animal
Your description of the animal must be consistent and follow importing country requirements. You may also need to include breed, age, date of birth, sex and desexing status.
Check breed names, as some breeds are not recognised internationally. Some examples are Bull Arab and Poodle crosses.
For cross breeds, identify the main breed and be specific. For example, Jack Russell Terrier cross rather than Terrier cross.
Popular ‘designer’ breeds should be described with the ‘designer’ name in brackets. For example, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Poodle (Cavoodle) or Labrador x Poodle (Labradoodle).
For cats, you can use Domestic Shorthair (DSH) as a breed. Do not use ‘moggie’ or ‘crossbred’.
All paperwork must have matching details of the animal. The owner or pet transport company providing documents to our veterinary officer must check this.
In most cases, pre-export isolation is not required for companion animals.
If required, pre-export isolation must be completed as specified by the importing country. Requirements may include timeframes and locations for isolation.
Pre-export isolation can be undertaken at non-government facilities, depending on importing country requirements.
Non-government facilities may include:
- pet transport company isolation rooms
- veterinary clinic isolation rooms.
You must have approval before using non-government facilities. Importing country requirements will advise who can approve the facility.
Contact our office in your region. We will confirm who can approve the premises for use.
If approved, the person in charge of the premises must complete the following forms:
The importing country sets the timeframe for all tests, treatments and examinations. Make sure you follow these requirements and keep appropriate records.
We provide sample forms with appropriate declarations for you to certify. You can download them from our forms page.
You can use your own forms to prepare companion animals for export. However, they must include all the required information contained in our sample forms.
All required forms must be submitted by the exporter to our regional office in your state or territory.
Make sure to keep accurate records to support these declarations.
Read more about your legal and ethical responsibilities.
All laboratory testing must be done at a facility that is NATA accredited for the test required. The tests must be done in a set period before export. Confirm the expected date of export before testing.
For all sample collection:
- collect, store and transport in accordance with Australian standards
- identify the sample to the animal. Include the owner details, the animal’s microchip number, the date of collection
- scan the animal’s microchip at the time of testing. Record the number on the submission form and on the sample submitted.
A copy of the results should be provided to us by the exporter. This confirms you have done the tests as required.
Check the results to ensure the:
- result is acceptable and reported correctly
- test type, microchip number and date of sampling are correct.
The NATA website contains information on what tests laboratories in Australia are accredited for. You can also contact a laboratory and check if their test is NATA accredited.
You must provide all treatments (including vaccinations):
- as required by the importing country
- following the manufacturer’s recommendations
- within the timeframe specified by the importing country.
Follow the importing country requirements to ensure the animal is eligible for export.
When you provide a treatment, you must either:
- provide the exporter with a treatment declaration, or
- enter the details into any ‘pro forma’ health certificate required by the importing country
Importing countries may need the animal to have internal or external parasite treatments. When administering these treatments ensure that you:
- follow the importing country requirements. This may include administering multiple treatments
- check the treatments meet the importing country requirements
- check the treatments have the appropriate registration in Australia, and if relevant, they are approved by the importing country
- ensure the method of application is what the importing country specifies. For example, if they specify a topical treatment, use a topical product rather than an oral one.
For dogs and cats travelling to New Zealand, check Micor for a list of acceptable treatments.
Most countries require animals to be up to date on vaccinations.
Ensure that you:
- give all vaccinations, including boosters, following the importing country requirements
- give the final vaccination in the course at least 14 days before export. Unless conditions or permits say otherwise.
- follow the manufacturer’s recommendations
- follow any special requirements on the import permit.
Vaccination certificates, other than rabies, should follow the relevant guidelines including:
- the relevant Veterinary Registration Board
- requirements of the importing country.
Certificates must include:
- a title, ‘Vaccination Certificate’ or similar
- name and address of the owner or breeder
- the date of vaccination
- next vaccination due date
- type of vaccine and manufacturer
- vaccine stickers or serial and batch numbers. Some countries require batch numbers and the expiry date
- use by date for rabies vaccine and/or leptospirosis vaccines
- name and address of the veterinary practitioner and veterinary practice
- signature and registration number of veterinarian.
Certificates must have a description of the animal, including:
- name of the animal, except for puppies or kittens changing ownership
- microchip number
- age or date of birth.
A veterinarian from your practice must sign, initial and date any changes. Do not use liquid paper or correction fluid.
Before using rabies vaccines, read our policy on administering rabies vaccinations to companion animals prior to export.
Rabies vaccines are not available for general use in Australia.
Intervet Australia Pty Ltd can supply Nobivac Rabies vaccine to registered veterinarians.
Some importing countries also require a rabies antibody titre test. This will show if the animal has immunity against rabies after vaccination.
Before vaccinating an animal for rabies, always check:
- importing country requirements
- if there is a waiting period between day of vaccination and the day of export
- importing country requirements for rabies titre tests, including waiting periods
- if there is a waiting period between day of vaccination and the day of titre test.
As an example, the European Union (EU) requires a 21 day wait period between vaccination and the day of export. In some cases, the EU also requires a 21 day wait period between vaccination and a rabies antibody titre test.
On the day of vaccination, always check the:
- microchip is scanned and matches the number on the animal’s identification, the rabies vaccination certificate and other documents
- animal is old enough to have the rabies vaccine. They must be 3 calendar months old, which is different to 12 weeks of age.
Some markets check that the animal is being imported by the owner. In this case, the owners name on the certificate must match the name on their passport.
You must check these details before you administer the vaccine. Otherwise, it may not be valid.
Complete the Rabies Vaccination Certificate form after vaccination.
Provide rabies vaccination certificates as originals rather than copies. If you need to reissue a certificate, check the batch number matches the original. Always make a copy of the certificate for your records.
You must keep an Inventory for the Rabies Vaccine at the practice. Record all rabies vaccines ordered, used and destroyed, including unused portions.
Ask your client if the dog or cat is returning to Australia. If so, they need to read about bringing cats and dogs (and other pets) to Australia. It is important to check the animal can return to Australia.
- Rabies vaccination policy for the export of companion animals (PDF 216 KB)
- Rabies vaccination policy for the export of companion animals (DOCX 213 KB)
If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.
You must conduct a final health and welfare examination of the animal. Complete this within 72 hours of departure. Some importing countries may require a shorter period, such as New Zealand. Check this timeframe before the examination.
Your final exam must confirm that the animal is free from clinical signs of:
- infectious or contagious diseases
- internal and external parasites
- any diseases or conditions specified by the importing country.
You must also confirm that:
- the animal is fit to undertake the journey
- you have followed all requirements during the export process. These include Australian and international animal welfare requirements.
- you have completed all required tests, treatments vaccinations and examinations
Some countries need you to also complete a health certificate. You will need one to export animals to the European Union and New Zealand, as examples. You can download health certificates from Micor. You can also contact the importing country’s government authority.
Disease Freedom Clearance
Import health conditions may need a declaration that a country is free from certain diseases. For example, rabies. Our veterinary officer will provide this certification.
Some countries need certification of freedom from disease other than rabies. To find out how to arrange this, contact one of our regional offices.
Find out more about the exporter’s roles and responsibilities in the export process.
You must keep records as per requirements of your state or territory’s veterinary legislation and veterinary board guidelines.
Common record requirements may include, but are not limited to:
- correct identification of the animal including microchip number and client details
- the animal’s identification linked to the type, date and collection location of activities undertaken such as:
- testing information and results
- treatment information including active ingredient, registered trade name and dose rates
- vaccination information including manufacturer details, batch numbers, and vaccine coverage
- examinations and inspections
- inventory of rabies vaccines
- inspections of pre-export isolation facilities
- copies of health declarations issued for consignments.
Exporters must keep all records from the export process for at least two years.