Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Noel’s mission in St. Thomas

Finally we settled in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands where we decided to take care of Noel’s travel documents. We visited the Imperial Animal Hospital on St. Thomas islands following the advice of many local pet owners. It’s located on the hill between Frenchtown and Crown Bay. We dinghied from Long Bay to the fisherman’s dock in Frenchtown because we didn’t know if Noel would be allowed take the safari (local bus in USVI).

The place was clean and neat without stuff toys for sale, only food, milk and medicated items on the shelves instead. We visited here before bringing Noel to avoid the heat and make the appointment first. The Veterinarian is a British gentleman who also holds an engineer degree! Mr. Jack Boden was so kind and very patient to explain all the documents that are needed for Noel’s trip without any charge for the first consultation.

The second day we bring Noel to visit the hospital, it rained in the morning so it was not too hot for him. Why we always concern about the weather? Because the French bulldogs have high risk of heatstroke and since he was young we raised him in 24 hours air conditioned apartment. We were worried when we were moving onboard that he would not be able to adjust to the Caribbean but dogs are better adapting than us! The doctor explained that each island has different regulations for dogs arriving by boat even if we want to prepare all the documents for Noel. Some other destination may require more some others less. He emphasized that all the British territories like British Virgins Islands, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis or Grenada, for example, are always difficult and highly demanding. He even said he couldn’t understand the reason, even he is British! So we must decide where will be our next destination after USVI. We don’t know yet! He told us that the Government certificate, which some islands require, it’s only good for one time. After that we need to get a new one before we leave for the next destination.

We contacted some islands by email to request what would be the documents needed. Some replied but most don’t. Here are examples of the information we got in July 2014 (bear in mind that this information is always changing and we strongly advise you to contact country by country in advance – try to contact directly the Tourism authorities because usually they are most sensitive to tourist requests and are willing to forward the information to the right departments – if try to contact directly the Veterinary departments usually the emails go without reply!).

Antigua and Barbuda:
Must send the dog’s health card to the Antigua and Barbuda Veterinary and Livestock division via email (vld@ab.gov.ag) or via fax (2684601759)
The dogs need the following:
- Rabies vaccine
- Rabies titer test result
- Vaccination and medical history of the dog
- Lymes and Ehrlichia test results
- Government issued health certificate

Dominica:
All animals entering the island must have had the necessary vaccines and immunizations and the record must be presented to the authorities upon entry.

One major difference between westerns veterinarians and the ones in Asia is the way they approach the relation with the patients. They don’t give treats, spoil or please our lovely pet like the way the Asian do! They are polite, animal lovers but the discipline is different. They keep it strictly professional.

The vet took two tubes of blood samples; one for the teeter test and another is for Heartworm and tick fever test which can be done locally. The invoice was reasonable and less than what we expected. Here are the details of the costs;
$40 Heartworm and tick fever test
$22 Rabies vaccines for 3 years
$137.50 Rabies blood titer
$50 Examination
Total $249.50

Joao and Noel in Frenchtown 
Fisherman's dinghy dock in Frenchtown
Joao and Noel in front of  Imperial Animal Hospital, St. Thomas

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