PCSing With Your Pet

Article courtesy of Military.com: For the whole article, please click here.

When traveling during a permanent change of station, owners must have a few things in order before their pet can travel along, especially when venturing overseas. Airports and destination countries will need updated medical records, arrival information and notice of arrangements to pick the animals up prior to landing.

As soon as a pet-owning service member receives orders for an overseas installation or in the United States, they should visit a veterinary office for information on the pet import requirements at their destination, said Army Capt. Erin Stough, veterinary corps officer, Combat Center Veterinary Services. She recommended the base clinic to streamline the health certificate process, although, necessary steps can be performed by any veterinarian.

"Start early, as soon as you have any kind of clue as to where you are going," Stough said. "I would definitely start with a veterinarian, particularly military, since we do this all of the time. I would encourage people to read records and keep copies of the vaccine and health records. Be informed."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates pets traveling by commercial airline to have a health certificate, which is good for 10 days, before boarding a plane during their travels to overseas installations, like Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Marine Corps Bases Japan. It can take up to six months to meet all additional regulations for these requirements. A PCS health certificate from the veterinarian office on base is free to service members.

Hawaii and Japan are rabies-free areas, which means animals will have to be quarantined and screened for rabies upon arrival, said Ernest Robinson, transportation specialist, Distribution Management Office. 

"All medical and travel costs are at the owners' expense," he said.

The maximum quarantine period for MCB Hawaii can be up to 120 days, and for MCB Japan it is 180 days if any problems arise during screening. Pet owners can minimize their pets' quarantine periods by getting a microchip, rabies vaccinations and blood tests done ahead of time in accordance with the timeline for their destination country.

For more great info on PCSing with your pet, click here.

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