Information pack for vets - Companion animal export to New Zealand


All veterinarians fully registered by a State or Territory Veterinary Board in Australia are able to prepare companion animals such as dogs, cats and pet birds for export from Australia.

Veterinarians must prepare animals to meet the requirements of the importing country.

Registered veterinarians play a major role in the pre-export preparation of companion animals by:

  • carrying out laboratory testing of animals in accordance with importing country requirements
  • carrying out specified pre-export treatments
  • performing the final pre-export health inspection
  • inspecting transport cages.

Veterinarians should only prepare companion animals for export if they are confident and familiar with Australia’s animal health certification system. The system provides the importing country with confidence that the animal has been prepared correctly prior to being exported, and is essential in maintaining Australia’s favourable position in the international movement of companion animals.

Failure to satisfy requirements may result in the animal’s rejection at the port of entry – with it then being returned to Australia, quarantined or euthanised at the exporter’s/owner's expense.

The export of companion animals is highly regulated. It is essential that you – as the registered veterinarian – have a comprehensive understanding of the legislative framework, and that you comply with it.

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The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has prepared this information pack for registered veterinarians to assist in the preparation of companion animals for export to New Zealand.

This pack can also be downloaded from the department’s website. However, it is recommended that you check the department’s website before preparing an animal for export to ensure that the advice is up-to-date. You can contact your nearest Live Animal Office if you have further questions.

The department does not provide, and does not require any additional licencing or accreditation for registered veterinarians to prepare companion animals for export.

Legal, ethical and professional responsibilities of registered veterinarians

As a registered veterinarian, you should ensure you are aware of, and comply with, all laws and professional standards relevant to your veterinary registration. If you have any doubt about your responsibilities, you should contact your State or Territory Veterinary Board. Any failure to meet the required legal or professional standards introduces the risk of legal liability, or adverse professional consequences. Breaches of legislation or other legal rules may lead to court actions for damages and other remedies such as injunctions.

State and Territory veterinary boards

The State and Territory veterinary boards provide veterinarians with advice about professional responsibilities. They also keep registered veterinarians informed of legislative provisions and other issues that may affect them.

Trade Practices: Misleading or deceptive conduct

Conduct in the course of trade or commerce which is “misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive” is prohibited by the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Commonwealth).

“Misleading and deceptive conduct” has a broad meaning, and can cover:

  • Giving information that is false, wrong, or that leads into error
  • Unreasonable promises or predictions

In general, the conduct need not be deliberate to attract a penalty. It is considered sufficient, for example, if the information is likely to mislead or deceive. Silence may amount to misleading or deceptive conduct. Each State and Territory has legislation on fair trading or misrepresentations that deals with similar issues. Each case is determined on its particular facts, and the specific legislation that applies.

Examples of misleading or deceptive conduct:

  • A misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose disease
  • Inappropriate advice on treatment
  • Incorrect certification.

Confidential information

If information is given to a registered veterinarian in confidence, then he or she is, in general, obliged to keep that information confidential, unless:

  • Consent was given by the person who confided it, to disclose the information
  • The disclosure is required by law.

Confidential information in this sense means information which:

  • By its nature is confidential
  • Was imparted in circumstances implying an obligation of confidence
  • Has not been authorised to be disclosed.

A registered veterinarian may be liable if he or she:

  • Takes unfair advantage of the information
  • Discloses it without the consent of the person who confided it.

Managing your legal risks

It is strongly recommended that registered veterinarians obtain independent legal advice, as necessary, about reducing their potential liability. In general, it is recommended that, as a veterinarian you take all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure the accuracy and security of your statements.

You should also ensure the accuracy of advice you give and the appropriateness of your diagnosis and treatments, including:

  • Up-to-date technical knowledge: Maintain up-to-date technical knowledge in your area of expertise and ensure the knowledge is properly applied.
  • Compliance with regulations and standards: Ensure your employees, agents and sub-contractors comply with appropriate technical, veterinary and legal rules and standards.
  • Safety and preventative measures: Consistently apply appropriate, up-to-date safety and preventative measures. This includes the use of protective clothing and effective, best practice decontamination and disease prevention procedures.
  • Local issues: Maintain your awareness of local animal health issues.
  • Resolve any doubts: Seek a second opinion from a Government veterinarian responsible for an Operational Program if there is any doubt about the significance of any observation or result, disease case or outbreak.
  • Manage your records: Establish effective management protocols to ensure the correctness and completeness of your records, and the information and advice issued by yourself as the veterinarian or your employees, agents or sub-contractors.
  • Careful communication: Ensure your data and communications are not defamatory and do not disclose confidential information inappropriately.
  • Seek written confirmation: Obtain written consent to disclose information that is confidential or potentially defamatory.
  • Protect your information system: Establish effective management protocols to protect the integrity and security of your record keeping systems and data from unauthorised intrusion or disclosure. This applies, in particular, where shared systems such as the internet are used.
  • Check legal requirements: Ensure that information is only disclosed in accordance with legal requirements.

Veterinarians must maintain appropriate insurance cover against legal liabilities.

Ethical requirements

As a veterinarian, you should:

  • Keep up-to-date with ethical issues affecting veterinary practice
  • Ensure that ethical conduct is an integral part of your professional activities, and the conduct of your employees, agents and sub-contractors.

Some aspects of professional behaviour are sufficiently important to a profession to be incorporated into a Code of Ethics. The Australian Veterinary Association has a Code of Professional Conduct that members are obliged to follow. This provides an excellent basis for the ethical and professional standards of all veterinarians.

The Code of Professional Conduct examines in detail the relationship between veterinarians and describes such issues as:

  • Professional misconduct as judged by comparison with peers
  • Social relationships between veterinarians
  • Relationships between assistants and locums
  • Relationships between official and private veterinarians
  • Consultations and referrals, objectives and procedure
  • Relationships between private practitioners and veterinarians employed in commercial enterprise
  • Relationships between private practitioners and veterinarians employed in laboratories; and
  • Conflict between the professional and commercial activities of a veterinarian.

As a veterinarian, you are expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards to avoid bringing yourself or the veterinary profession into disrepute.

You are urged to examine the Code of Professional Conduct in detail so you appreciate the minimum standards of ethical and professional conduct you are expected to maintain as a veterinarian. Appropriate standards for veterinary practice and conduct are also set by Veterinary Registration Boards. Registered veterinarians should ensure that they are familiar with any such standards or guidelines issued by Veterinary Boards from time to time.

Conflict of Interest

When a conflict of interest arises

A conflict of interest issue arises if there exists:

  • A conflict between one person’s own interests and that of another person or body
  • A conflict between a person’s differing obligations to two or more other people
  • The appearance of such a conflict.

A veterinarian is obliged to:

  • Promptly declare any apparent, actual or potential conflict of interest to the Chief Veterinary Officer and the Official Government veterinarian
  • Take all reasonable practicable steps to avoid that conflict.

A conflict of interest issue may arise, if, for example, you have:

  • Any financial or pecuniary interest in animals or land involved
  • A relationship with a client, vendor or purchaser involved
  • A business or social interest with any party
  • Been under pressure or offered an inducement in relation to the service.

Managing a Conflict of Interest

You should not, in your capacity as a veterinarian, carry out tests, certifications or related tasks involving any animal or property in which:

  • You have a financial interest
  • One of your associates has an interest (an associate may include, for example, a family member or business partner)
  • Any corporate entity of which you are an executive office holder or manager has an interest.

As it is vital for registered veterinarians to comply with requirements for preparing companion animals for export to New Zealand, a step-by-step guide is detailed below.

Step 1: Pre-export preparation

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Check New Zealand's import requirements

Timeframe: Before starting the export process

It is the exporter’s responsibility to check with the relevant government authority of the importing country and provide the veterinarian with the importing country requirements.

Conditions of the export of companion animals to New Zealand can be found through the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) website.

Please note: This is the current agreed Veterinary Certificate A for cats and dogs from Australia to New Zealand DOCX​  [21 KB, 3 pages] to use for export from Australia (This certificate does not include the Canine Influenza Virus clause and is not available on the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) website​).

Exporters/Owners are also required to complete a Declaration DOCX​  [14 KB, 1 page] ​about their dog or cat’s health status. This must be completed and presented to MPI within the agreed timeframe before export. This is available on the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) website.

Due to Australia’s rabies free status, Australia is approved as a Category 1 country to import cats and dogs into New Zealand. This means:

  • An import permit is not required
  • Post-arrival quarantine for compliant cats and dogs (arriving at specific times of inspection) is not required
  • Post-arrival inspection is required. Inspection times for cats and dogs from Australia are:
    • Auckland – 7am to 7pm (weekdays only)
    • Christchurch – 1pm to 5pm (weekdays only)

Confirm general eligibility

Timeframe: Before starting the export process

Check whether:

  • The animal is on New Zealand’s prohibited breed list
    • The following dog breeds are banned for import into New Zealand:
      • Brazilian Fila
      • Dogo Argentino
      • Japanese Tosa
      • Perro de Presa Canario
      • American Pit Bull Terrier
      • Dogs that belong wholly or predominantly to one or more of the above breeds are also ineligible for importation
  • No hybrids (offspring of dogs or cats crossed with other species) are eligible for importation, with the exception of Bengal cats – documentation showing five generations of domestic ancestry must be provided for Bengal cats
  • Be aware of any breed restrictions on airlines, in particular with brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs, pugs and Persian cats – these may be listed on the airline’s website
  • The animal is listed on the CITES list
  • Puppies and kittens are of age to be exported. Animals must meet the minimum age of eight (8) weeks for New Zealand.
  • If the animal is pregnant. If so, confirm if the animal is allowed to be exported. New Zealand conditions specify that animals must not be more than 42 days pregnant at the date of shipment.

Step 2: As the registered veterinarian, your duties and responsibilities

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Animal identification

Timeframe: Before you can start pre-export testing, treatments or vaccinations

  • Correct identification of animals is mandatory during preparation for export. There must be no doubt that the animal identified by the health certificate is the animal being exported.
  • An International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) compatible microchip must be checked or implanted in the animal before the commencement of testing, treatment or vaccination. Ensure that the microchip is in place and is able to be scanned. The microchip must be scanned and the number recorded each time a vaccination, test, treatment, examination or inspection is done.
  • Consistent and accurate descriptions of breed, age, date of birth, sex including whether or not the pet is desexed (if known), and colour/markings are also an essential part of the identification of companion animals for export. You will be responsible for ensuring complete and full identification in accordance with New Zealand’s requirements, and that the animal’s details are consistent across all documentation presented to the department’s veterinary officer.
  • Take care with naming breeds as some breeds in Australia are not recognised internationally e.g. Bull Arab and some Poodle crosses. With cross breeds, identify the main breed and be specific e.g. Jack Russell Terrier cross rather than Terrier cross. Popular ‘designer’ breeds such as spoodles, cavoodles and labradoodles should be described properly with the designer name in brackets. For example, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Poodle (Cavoodle); Labrador x Poodle (Labradoodle). For cats it is acceptable to use Domestic Shorthair (DSH) as a breed but not ‘moggie’ or ‘crossbred’.

Perform testing and treatments of the animal as per New Zealand's requirements

Timeframe: Within timeframe specified by New Zealand

Sample forms with appropriate declarations have been provided by the department. These are examples of the declarations required to be submitted by registered veterinarians to the department’s veterinary officer responsible for issuing the export health certificate. These sample forms are included as a guide to the declarations required. Registered veterinarians preparing companion animals for export can also use their own forms. Accurate record keeping to support these declarations is extremely important.


Timeframes are very important for the accurate timing of animal testing and treatments for export. Count the first day as Day 0 and use a calendar to help calculate when the next treatment is due (see below). For example, if a treatment is first administered on Monday 2 January 2017, and a second treatment is required two weeks later, the date of the second treatment would be Monday 16 January 2017.

Be aware of the wording of New Zealand requirements, as a “month” refers to a calendar month and not just four weeks. You may want to use an online date calculator to assist.

The timing of testing, treatments and vaccinations should be carefully calculated based on the date of export, which refers to the date of which the animal leaves Australia. See examples below.

If the requirements state exported ‘within’ 16 days of testing or treatment then if test is done on 2 January 2017, the animal must be exported before 18 January 2017.

If the requirements state treatments are two weeks ‘apart’ then if first treatment is done on 2 January 2017, the animal can receive the second treatment on the 16 January 2017.


The biosecurity risk organisms associated with companion animals that are of importance to New Zealand are:

  • Cats and dogs:
    • External parasites
    • Internal parasites
    • Rabies
  • Dogs only:
    • Babesia canis
    • Babesia gibsoni
    • Brucella canis
    • Canine transmissible venereal tumour
    • Filariasis (canine heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis)
    • Leptospirosis (Leptospira interrogans serovar canicola)
  • However, when exporting a companion animal from Australia to New Zealand, only canine heartworm and Babesia gibsoni testing are required.

All tests required by New Zealand must be conducted in accordance with internationally accepted standards. Export tests must be carried out at a department approved laboratory, which is NATA accredited. In most circumstances, tests have a limited time validity so it is advisable to confirm the export date before commencing testing.

All test samples must be collected, stored and transported to the approved laboratory in accordance with Australian standards. Samples submitted for testing must be fully identified. The animal’s microchip must always be scanned at the time of collecting samples for testing and recorded on the laboratory submission form. Identification must include details of the owner, animal microchip number and the date of collection.

Attach a copy of the laboratory results to verify that the required tests have been conducted. Check the results carefully to ensure the:

  • result is acceptable and reported correctly
  • microchip number and date of sampling are correct.

Department approved laboratories include:


Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), Geelong, Victoria

Queensland Health Scientific Services (QHSS), Coopers Plains, Queensland

Vetpath Laboratory Services, Perth, Western Australia

IDEXX Laboratories, various locations across Australia

Test Rabies antibody titre test – Fluorescent Antibody Viral Neutralisation (FAVN) Leptospirosis
(all serovars)
Heartworm Heartworm
Hendra virus   Babesia  
Brucella canis   Leishmania  
Leptospirosis canicola      

MPI Approved Diagnostic Tests, Vaccines, Treatments and Post-Arrival Testing Laboratories for Animal Import Health Standards (MPI-STD-TVTL) can be accessed via the link:


Perform all treatments as per New Zealand requirements and in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, ensuring they are within the timeframe specified.

Internal parasites:

  • The animal must be treated twice 14 days apart with a product (or combination of products) registered for the control of nematodes and cestodes at the manufacturer’s recommended dose.

External parasites:

  • The animal must be treated twice 14 days apart with a product registered for the control of ticks and fleas at the manufacturer’s recommended dose and certified as free from external parasites at each treatment.
  • Check that the treatments used meet the New Zealand requirements. External parasite treatments must be registered to be effective:
    • Fipronil spray or pyrethrin rinse – fleas and ticks for dogs and cats
    • Fipronil-S-methoprene spot-on or Imidacloprid-permethrin spot-on – fleas and ticks for dogs only. Please note that Fipronil-S-methoprene is not registered for ticks in cats and is not to be used for the pre-export treatment and control of ticks in cats exported from Australia to New Zealand.
  • Recently the New Zealand government authority provided a dispensation to allow the usage of the following products provided that the treatment schedule of two treatments at least a 14 day interval (refer to Veterinary Certificate A) is still met:
    • oral products such as Afoxolaner and Fluralaner for dogs
    • topical Fluralaner for dogs and cats
    • The treatments must provide adequate coverage from the date of the first treatment to the date of the second treatment (i.e. some washes providing three day tick coverage are not appropriate for the initial treatment).
  • Conduct all relevant testing and treatments and complete the Veterinary Certificate A for cats and dogs from Australia to New Zealand DOCX  [21 KB, 3 pages].


Vaccinations are not required in the preparation of exporting dogs and cats from Australia to New Zealand.

Health and welfare inspection

Timeframe: Within two days of the animal’s departure from Australia

As the registered veterinarian preparing companion animals for export, you should conduct a final health and welfare inspection of the animal in the two days prior of the animal’s departure from Australia. Advise your client to book an appointment with you to have their animal inspected.

This final inspection is carried out to establish that:

  • the animal is free from
    • clinical signs of infectious and/or contagious diseases
    • internal parasites
    • infestation with external parasites which includes evidence of flea dirt
    • diseases specified by MPI.
  • the animal is fit to undertake the journey and that all Australian and international animal welfare requirements have been/will be observed during the preparation and transport of the animal for export
  • (only for a dog that is not castrated or spayed) the animal is free from any visible signs of canine transmissible venereal tumour on examination of external genitalia.

Conduct the final health and welfare inspection of the animal, ensuring all the required tests and treatments have been performed and that the animal is fit for travel. Complete the Veterinary Certificate A for cats and dogs from Australia to New Zealand DOCX  [21 KB, 3 pages].

Particular attention must be paid when conducting a physical examination of an animal for external parasites. You must comb through the coat of the animal thoroughly to inspect for any indication of ticks, fleas or flea dirt. If ticks or fleas are found on the animal upon arrival in New Zealand, the animal cannot be given biosecurity clearance. At the exporter’s expense, the animal will need to either:

  • go to an approved quarantine facility for treatment or testing
  • return to Australia (if permitted)
  • be euthanased.

More information can be found via the link:

Principles of Certification

  1. A registered veterinarian should certify only to those matters which are within their own knowledge, can be ascertained by them personally or are the subject of supporting documentation e.g. laboratory report or other veterinarian declaration.
  2. Registered veterinarians should not issue a certificate which might raise questions of a possible conflict of interest, for example, in relation to their own animals.
  3. Certificates should fully identify each animal individually, particularly where several animals are travelling in the same consignment.
  4. Original certificates should always be issued and presented. Copies, either scanned or paper copies, must be kept for a minimum period of three years.
  5. When signing a certificate, a registered veterinarian should ensure that:
    1. they sign and complete any manuscript portions in blue ink (to differentiate an original document from a photocopy)
    2. any alterations to documentation must be struck through neatly and initialled and dated. Liquid paper or correction fluid is not acceptable
    3. all paperwork provided to the department bears the registered veterinarian’s signature, name, qualification, registration number, address, the date on which it was signed and official or practice stamps (where appropriate).

Step 3: With veterinarian input as required, your client's duties and responsibilities

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Source the importing country requirements

Timeframe: Before commencing pre-export preparation

It is the exporter’s responsibility to check with the relevant government authority of the importing country and provide the veterinarian with the importing country requirements before commencing pre-export preparation.

Organise the animal's transport

Timeframe: As soon as possible

Advise your client to book transportation for the animal through a pet transport company or directly through the airline.

The crating and transport requirements for carriage of animals by air are specified by International Air Transport Association (IATA). Advise your client to check with the airline or pet transport company to ensure that the container they intend to use is acceptable and complies with IATA standards. Your client should also check the airline’s accompaniment rules, such as whether the owner must be on board the same flight, and other transit requirements.

If your client wishes to transport more than one animal in a single crate, they should also check with the airline or pet transport company if this is allowed.

The pet container must meet IATA standards and you, as the registered veterinarian, must satisfy yourself, by due enquiry and inspection, that the container meets IATA requirements and is suitable for the animal’s transport. It must be new or thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to ensure it is free from dirt, fleas, ticks and other pests and must be presented to you by the exporter prior to use.


  • It is not recommended to send medication with the animal unless it is necessary for the animal’s welfare e.g. there is a long transit during which the medication will be required. However, if it is necessary, advise your client to declare the pet medication, and to provide a copy of the veterinary prescription to MPI before or when the pet arrives in New Zealand. Your client must complete the form Declaration: Importation of Veterinary Medicines for Use Only on Accompanied Animals.
  • Advise your client to check with the airline whether the medication will be permitted to travel with the animal.

Sedation and use of tranquilisers

  • Sedation of the animal for travel is generally not recommended. The IATA continues to endorse recommendations not to sedate or tranquilise pets or animals in transit.

Submit a Notice of Intention to Export (NOI)

Timeframe: At least 10 working days before the animal's departure from Australia

Advise your client to submit a Notice of Intention to Export Live Animals (other than Livestock) to the department’s relevant regional Live Animal Office.

Notify MPI before arrival

Timeframe: At least five working days before the animal’s scheduled arrival time into New Zealand

Cats and dogs (including assistance dogs) from Australia will be inspected by an MPI veterinarian at the border and animals will be given biosecurity clearance provided that all import requirements have been met. Advise your client to notify MPI at least five working days before the scheduled arrival time of their animal by completing the form Application for Veterinary Inspection – Cats and Dogs from Australia.

New Zealand inspection times for cats and dogs from Australia are:

  • Auckland – 7am to 7pm (weekdays only)
  • Christchurch – 1pm to 5pm (weekdays only)

Cats and dogs that are not given biosecurity clearance will be sent to an approved quarantine facility until veterinary inspection is completed on the next working day, or the animal is compliant with the import requirements.

Make an appointment with a Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment veterinary officer

Timeframe: Within two days of the animal departing Australia

Once your client receives notification that their NOI has been approved by the department, they need to book an appointment with the department’s veterinary officer (see Live Animal Offices). This should be scheduled after your final health and welfare inspection. Provide them with all original documentation completed.

The certifying department veterinary officer requires the following documents:

  • New Zealand Veterinary Certificate A
  • Certificate of Pre-Export Veterinary Health and Welfare Inspection for Live Animals
  • Laboratory test results (dogs only)

Clients do not have to bring their animals to this appointment for New Zealand exports.

Based on this documentation, the department’s veterinary officer will determine whether the animal has qualified for export and issue an export permit and health certificate.

Disease Freedom Clearance

Generally overseas health conditions for most companion animals require declarations of country freedom from diseases such as rabies and Leptospira species. The department’s veterinary officer will provide this certification.

Other relevant information

The following records must be kept for a minimum period of three years (for all countries)

  1. Full identification of animals for which pre-export inspection services were provided, linked to the client.
  2. Dates and places of collection of samples for tests linking this to the identification of the animals, together with laboratory reports of results. The laboratory report must contain the animal’s identification details, including microchip number.
  3. Dates and places of all treatments given, including active ingredients, proprietary name and dose rates. Treatment records must contain full identification of the animals.
  4. Dates and places of all vaccinations given including details of the manufacturer and batch number of the vaccine. Records must be linked with the identification of the animals and the owner. Records must clearly identify each disease for which a vaccine has been given.
  5. Dates and places of inspections performed, linked with the identification of the animals and the date of export.
  6. Copies of health declarations issued for consignments.

Applicable Export Legislation

Live Animal Offices

The department offices are open Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays).

General inquiry: 1800 900 090 or + 61 3 8318 6700 (from outside Australia).

Region Address Email
Sydney—NSW Building 2, 185 O’Riordan Street, Mascot NSW 2020
Melbourne —
South East region
(incorporates VIC & TAS)
SE Region Animal Program
1st floor
255 Melrose Drive, Tullamarine VIC 3043
Cairns—Nth Qld Airport Administration Centre, Cairns International Airport QLD 4870
Brisbane—Qld 42-44 Qantas Drive,
Eagle Farm QLD 4008
Adelaide—SA Adelaide International Airport
Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Export Park SA 5950
Perth—WA 24 Fricker Road,
Perth Airport WA 6105
(For export inquires only)
Darwin—NT ​ 1 Pederson Road
(cnr Henry Wigley Road),
Marrara NT 0812
Canberra—ACT 18 Marcus Clarke Street,
Canberra City ACT 2601
Last reviewed: 18 May 2021
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