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Old 19.02.2013, 05:20
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Tricky import question

Hi EF!

Looking for your advice please on a tricky situation regarding importing our cat from USA.

My family and I are moving to Switzerland from the USA onTuesday 27 February (8 days from now). We plan to bring our pet cat withus on the plane.

Our cat is 13 years old. She was fitted with anon-ISO-compliant microchip (Avid FriendChip) in May of 2000. Shereceived a 3-year rabies vaccination on 2 May 2011, which is still valid(expiration date: 1 May 2014).

Our plan was to obtain a health certificate from theauthorities in the USA, and bring a suitable microchip reader with us toSwitzerland that could read the old microchip (per the instructions in section1.2 on the bvet.admin.ch website here).

Today we asked our veterinarian to prepare the internationalhealth certificate. Our veterinarian noted that our cat’s microchip wasnot ISO-compliant, so she fitted the cat with a new, ISO-compliantmicrochip. Because of the new chip, she also gave our cat a new rabiesvaccination (even though the previous 3-year vaccination had not yet expired). Technically, this means that we would have to wait 21 days until we can import her...however, since her old vaccination had not yet expired, I am not sure if this is the case.

Does anyone know whether we can still import ourcat into Switzerland as planned on 27 February with our own microchip reader,since the new rabies vaccine was given before the old one expired? Ordoes the fact that she received a new (and unnecessary) rabies vaccine todaymean that we must now wait until 11 March (21 days) before importing her toSwitzerland?

I have sent an inquiry to the info@bvet.admin.ch site but would love to hear from any of you who could offer advice. THANK YOU!!
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Old 19.02.2013, 08:43
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Re: Tricky import question

Yes, you must wait the 21 days; the quarantine is not to make sure the animal is vaccinated, but to make sure the new vaccine doesn't somehow give your cat rabies. Or at least, that's the logic behind it. So 21 days after the last vaccine, you need to get a new Bill of Health from the vet.

If they check the cat at customs, they are within their rights to send the cat back to the States for the remaining period of it's quarantine. I'm not sure if they will actually do it or not--they are within their rights to 'destroy the animal', too, but I'm pretty sure they don't make a habit of that.

They didn't check my cats' paperwork when we came through, so I guess you could risk it, although make sure you have a really good contingency plan (i.e., someone to pick the cat up from the airport if they send it back).
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Old 19.02.2013, 08:46
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Re: Tricky import question

Also, you're not the first one this has happened to! Check this post: Last Minute Surprise.. Very Upset
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Old 19.02.2013, 16:28
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Re: Tricky import question

Good news. I received a reply from the folks in Bern today confirming that we are OK to fly on the scheduled time, provided that we:

1. list both of the chip numbers and both rabies vaccinations on the certificate from the USDA

2. bring a scanner with us which will enable customs to read the old, non-ISO-compliant chip. Turns out there is a service here in the US that rents these scanners out for precisely this kind of situation.

I'm going to print out the e-mail thread and take it with me through customs just in case.

I am really impressed with how fast they have responded to my request (in English, no less). It looks like we are going to be OK.
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