Source: Global News (Extract)
Posted: May 16, 2024

B.C. residents who want to take their dogs across the border to the U.S. will have to meet additional requirements starting Aug. 1.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is implementing these changes to ensure that any dog entering the U.S. is in good health and poses no risk to the community.

Starting on Aug. 1, all dogs entering the U.S. must:

The CDC has indicated that additional requirements may be necessary depending on the dog’s recent travel history and vaccination status in the U.S.

According to Dr. Adrian Walton, a veterinarian in Maple Ridge, these new regulations are poised to pose significant challenges for individuals seeking to travel across the border with their pets. He highlighted the complexity of the guidelines, noting the plethora of information that pet owners need to navigate, which can be confusing.

Dr. Walton emphasized that the requirements vary for each animal, contingent upon factors such as its origin, vaccination history, and current age. He suggested that individuals will likely need to engage in preplanning, including applying for an import permit, ensuring their pet has a valid microchip and up-to-date rabies vaccination, and obtaining a signed health certification form from their veterinarian, which must be dated within 30 days of any attempted border crossing.

Walton said he hopes that by Aug. 1 there are going to be more details about the requirements as even veterinarians are confused by the process.

The CDC emphasizes on its website that dogs arriving from countries with a high risk of dog rabies must be vaccinated against rabies.

Notably, the rabies virus variant carried by dogs was eradicated in the U.S. back in 2007, and the CDC is steadfast in its commitment to maintaining this status quo.

Moreover, the temporary suspension on importing dogs from high-risk rabies countries, which was implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to be lifted on August 1st. This adjustment brings the regulation in line with the standards outlined by the World Organization for Animal Health regarding the international movement of dogs originating from countries with a high risk of dog rabies.

“We had a case in Toronto just a couple of years ago where dozens of people were exposed to a dog that was tested positive for rabies, and they all had to receive treatment,” Walton said.

“Because the thing about canine rabies is if at any point you develop clinical signs and you don’t know that you’ve been exposed to rabies, it’s a death sentence. We’re not talking you just get really sick. We’re talking, you die.”

The CDC says travellers should plan for future travel to ensure requirements for dog importations will be met at the time their dogs will enter the United States.

A tool named DogBot is available to help travellers.