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Old 01-08-2008, 18:35   #1
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Clearing Pets in the Caribbean

My faithful old Lab of 16 years died last year. While I do miss him I stopped worrying about how to get him cleared into various destinations once I get Rutu in the water. Well, this afternoon my daughter, who claims she was worried that I would have no company, presented me with a Portuguese Water Dog puppy. ( really think she is worried about me chasing rich widows. )

I just checked Noonsite for pet clearance requirements and every place is different. Some require no more than 10 days in advance of arrival and/or a vet's certificate issued within 10 days of departure. Others just want a current rabies certificate. How do you manage to comply with all these rules when you are out cruising for 2 or 3 years?

A Portuguese Water Dog is a pretty energetic animal. No way to keep him locked on board all the time.
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:21   #2
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For some countries, there's really no way that you can comply. The islands that are currently rabies-free wish to keep it that way, and impose very strict requirements.

It took us about three months elapsed time to go through the hoops necessary to be able to clear our cat into Nevis when we moved here. We had to have proof of up-to-date rabies shots, but more of an issue, Nevis required two rabies "titre tests", taken a month or so apart. These blood tests could only be processed at the University of Kansas, so the samples had to be FedExed to them. Finally, we were required to go in person to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and obtain a certificate that the pet was healthy, and this had to be done the day before departure from the U.S. to Nevis. Clearly impossible if you are cruising.

There are islands with no restrictions--the ones that have rabies present. Martinique, for example.

When we were cruising the eastern Caribbean, our cat stayed onboard at all times. When clearing in, we would note that fact on the clearance form, and we never had any problems. Of note: we were at anchor in Admiralty Bay, Bequia, and a cruiser dinghying by with his dog stopped to chat. He told us that he had just been ashore with his dog for a "potty stop", and a Customs officer had come upon them. The officer told him to take the dog back to the boat immediately, and that if he found him ashore with the dog again, the dog would be shot on the spot!
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:48   #3
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F...The islands that are currently rabies-free wish to keep it that way, and impose very strict requirements...
... There are islands with no restrictions--the ones that have rabies present. Martinique, for example ...
Catch 22:
Those locations that make it easy, are those to which an animal-lover might not wish to bring their pet.
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:19   #4
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Depends on the island. Rabies is not present in the Caribbean and they want to keep it that way. Minimally, you should have a rabies titer performed by your vet ( not a rabies shot). This test proves the animal is immune, of course the shots should also be current. This test is only done in a couple of labs and it may take more than a month to get the results. secondly, have an id chip placed under the animals skin. If the animal is going to be one the boat "at all times" that would be all that is necessary. Island to island will very on the strickness of the enforcement. The French like dogs, accept them in restraunts, etc. We have never been challenged in 4 years. Bermuda and some of the British islands are very strict but Tortola doesn't seem to be. If you want to legally take your dog ashore, expect a big expense and a big hassle including U S health certificates less than 10 days old, posible quaranteen, etc. Its best to say that the dog or cat will stay exclusively on the boat when you check in through customs.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:30   #5
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The only onboard dog we've come across that wasn't a pain in the behind, was a Spaniel living on a Danish boat in Portugal, where it'd been living aboard for eleven years - it was stuffed!

I've just seen another post asking for suggestions re: babies on board; I'm tempted, but don't quite have the nerve to make this same suggestion there
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Old 07-08-2008, 15:29   #6
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If you want to legally take your dog ashore, expect a big expense and a big hassle including U S health certificates less than 10 days old, posible quaranteen, etc.
I m asking for a friend (ahem), but say for example he was off the BVI and there was an uninhabited beach or Island and he went ashore for a run around, what might happen? Are there customs officers everywhere (such as Bequia above)?

It is obvious that he should keep away from customs, crowded beaches and big cities ...

Is this so bad (providing his dogs are rabies etc free).
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:38   #7
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You will probably find the former British Islands use the old British legislation which is very strict. It wasn't until the UK became part of the EU some of the more primitive laws were relaxed. Dogs now have to carry a pet passport which contains their current vacination status and microchip data. See information on the PETS (Pet travel scheme) at Defra, UK - Animal health and welfare - Pet Travel Scheme - Dogs, cats and ferrets this will show you the territories and caribbean islands that operate this scheme.

It's a nightmare getting pets back in to the UK, you can only arrive on certain transport (ferries, aeroplanes), at specified ports, and vacinations must have been carried out in the last 48 hours prior to arrival. As an example if I want to sail back to the UK with the dog, I have to drop off the wife and dog at a French ferry port, get a vet to vacinate the dog and stamp its passport, they then have to get on a ferry and I have to single hand cross the channel to meet them at the other end, once cleared they can then get back on our boat. If all of this isn't met the dog is put into quarantine for 6 months.
A royal pain in the backside.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:03   #8
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Consider the Western Caribbean - Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras. Much less hassle, less expensive, and very, very beautiful! We cruised with our two dogs (a goldie and a terrier mix) and found this area very doggie friendly!
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:43   #9
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Rabies is a very serious disease in developing countries, and as such, they take it very seriously.
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Old 10-08-2008, 16:34   #10
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jzk,

Right about that! Here on Nevis we have a large population of monkeys. Lord knows what Hell would be unleashed if rabies were introduced here. In spite of the inconvenience involved in bringing our pet cat into the country, I'm very supportive of the efforts to keep rabies at bay.
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Old 10-08-2008, 17:46   #11
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When entering the bahamas with our two parrots we had to apply in advance with the ministry of agriculture. It wasnt too big a deal. they promptly sent us back the papers for clearance.
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Old 11-08-2008, 13:03   #12
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Hi Forsailbyowner

Any other information you can provide regarding cruising with your parrots? We will be cruising with our African grey one day.

thanks
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Old 11-08-2008, 15:30   #13
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cruising with birds

Baby (pictured) has been cruising with us for 10 yrs. They go outside in the morning and stay on their perch at night. They are a joy to have aboard but they dont let me sleep in ever. As soon as it gets light they start going Hey baby good morning. If I dont get up to the polite wakeup they start screeching. They ask to be let in in the evenings and when storms approach also. Not too visable in the pic but theyve built themselves kind of an elaborate nest in the top of their outside habitat. I went ashore 3 days in a row and got large armloads of small branches and they condensed it down to almost solid wood. I had a trampoline setup for them up in the canvas part, but I guess it wasnt high enough to keep them out of sideways rain, with their nest their heads are just below canvas. Ive still got some major work to do on magic before Im ready to leave for parts unknown so Ive only been around bahamas and east coast and gulf so far. The birds sure get a lot of attention back there. Seems theres always a boat with kids in it behind the Magic looking up at the birds, Do you have a pair? Ive found having one bird is not good for the birds mental health. They require constant company and even shore trips are too much lone time for one bird.
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Old 11-08-2008, 17:29   #14
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Very sweet bird! I like your outdoor setup.

My bird (Lola) loves being on the boat. We've only cruised on the inland rivers and are now at marina on the ICW in Florida.

DId you have any problems returning to the U.S. from the Bahamas? I've heard that it's more problematic coming back to the U.S. that it is getting into most other countries. I plan to keep Lola on the boat at all times. I would never risk her escaping.

Thanks!
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Old 19-05-2009, 02:49   #15
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Hi,

I've been browsing the UK official site because I'd like to get my cat a UK Pet Passport.

We left the U.S. last May and cleared into Bermuda no problem because I'd done all the official paperwork and at that point her 6 month time clock started. She never had an anitbody rabies test though, just current vaccines since birth.

Had we stayed inside the EU and other non-EU approved countries we could have gotten her a EU Pet Passport in November. Unfortunately we were in Tunisia in November and that's not an approved country so we have to start over.

We re-entered the EU in March '09. The cat (who never gets off the boat either, BTW) has a microchip that will be a year old in May this year. She last got a rabies vaccine at that time but unfortunately the rabies paperwork does not list her chip number ON THAT paperwork (I have the registration for the chip but from what I've read the chip # has to be ON the same paper as the rabies vaccine data and perhaps the bloodwork data sheet as well). The rabies vaccine is good for 3 years and it was given in the U.S.

So...I think what has to be done is she needs this rabies titer to prove that she has the antibody to rabies in her bloodstream and that she must stay in the EU or an approved non-EU country for 6 months. At that point if she has a positive titer, she can get her passport. I'm just not sure if she should get her titer drawn now or wait until we're close to or at the 6 months time limit? Anyone know?

And what about her other vaccines? Leukemia and FVRCP? No one talks about those.

Thanks for any help!
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