Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dog importation in St. Lucia

I mentioned since the beginning of our journey that traveling with a pet is not easy. If you have one as your family member, be ready to be patient. You must plan very well the route and time, the same as you do with the weather, or if you have money, everything will be easier!

We have learned from our experience in the British Virgin Islands, one of the strict islands in the Caribbeans, which I also wrote before. After that we found a very good veterinary in St. Thomas, the United States Virgin Islands, Dr. Jack Boden and we took care of Noel's documents, that was one of the reason why we stayed there more than four months.

Before we arrived in St. Lucia I searched information and consulted many group pages in facebook to see how strict the rules were. I remember that someone said it was very difficult here. Now we can say, don't worry, it's not easy but it's possible.

First of all, when you entry St. Lucia and clear in your vessel, you must report if you have pet on board. It's fine if your pet stay aboard, no fee or documents are required. If you would like for your four legs friend to be on land then you must contact the St. Lucian government veterinary. We got the contact from the Veterinary Hospital in Castries where the staff were very helpful. The veterinary who took care of our process was also very understanding. Since we just arrived and don't know the island, we made the appointment to summit all Noel's documents in Rodney Bay marina after office hours. The vet was very helpful and agreed to meet us out of the office since the marina was near her house. In the next day, the veterinary confirmed that the documents we have are all good, but she needed to see Noel. The examination was complete. She checked the paws and any other signs if Noel have sickness symptom. Then we paid a fee of 45 EC for the permission and that's it! Noel was ready and happy to be on St. Lucia land.
 
The Documents we submitted to the government veterinary are as below:
Titer Test 
Heartworm Test
Tick fever Test
Microchip 15 digits

Here are the information on the importation permission documents which we received after the examination was done.

Ministry of Agriculture, food production, fisheries, and rural development
Veterinary & Livestock Services Division

Conditions for the Importation of Dogs & Cats from RABIES Endemic Countries
1. The dog/cat must be electronically identifiable, having had an acceptable type of mirco-chip implanted. Microchips must conform to ISO standard 11784, and reader to ISO standard 11785. If the microchip does not conform to the standard, pet owners will need to provide their own microchip reader to enable the microchip to be read successfully.
2. The dog/cat must be vaccinated against rabies at or over three months of age using an inactivated and adjuvanted vaccine approved by the veterinary authority of the exporting country. 
3. A blood test to determine the rabies antibody titre must be carried out not less than 30 days after the date the vaccination was done.
4. The blood sample must be sent to an approved laboratory facility. In order to qualify for permission, the blood test must show a rabies antibody titre equal to or greater than 0.5IU/ml. The blood test reflecting successfully results must have been done not more than 24 months prior to importation. Your pet will not be allowed entrance until 3 months have passed from the date that your pet took the blood sample which led to the successful results. The original copy of  the laboratory results must accompany the Health Certificate. 
5. In the case of booster vaccinations, to remain qualified for entry, the animal must have been vaccinated against rabies not less than one month and not more than one year prior to export. If your pet has missed a rabies booster vaccination date, it will have to be vaccinated and blood tested again, and 3 months wait will apply.
6. The dog/cat must be treated for endo-parasites including Tapeworm with an approved broad spectrum anthelmintic and for ecto-parasites including ticks, not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before entry to St. Lucia.
7. The dog/cat must be accompanied by a valid Veterinary Health Certificate issued by a Veterinary Surgeon attached to the Veterinary Authority of the exporting country that shall also state that:
* The dog/cat is in the good health and free from symptoms of any prescribed or any other infectious or contagious diseases, and is free from external parasites.
* Dog/cat has been inoculated for common disease conditions, not less than two weeks prior to exportation. (Canine Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis/ Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus).
* Dog has been inoculated and tested negative for Lyme Disease where applicable.
* Dog has been tested negative for heartworm, where applicable. The test must be done within 72 hours or export on two occasions, one day in the morning and another day in the afternoon after 4:00 pm.
* Cat has been inoculated not less that two weeks prior to exportation for Feline Leukaemia, Feline Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleukopenia and Feline Pneumonitis. 
Dog/cat must be transported by Air Freight directly into St. Lucia and should not be in contact with any other animal on the flight except those for which similar permit has been issued. 

Please noted that: 
  a) Arrangement for Import Permit must be made in advance to travel date.
b) Animals failing to meet Import Requirement or entering without a permit will be refused entry or be humanely euthanized.
c) Please notify the Veterinary and Livestock Services Division of you port of entry, date, time and flight number at least three days in advance of your arrival.

I hope everyone enjoy travel with their four legs friends!

Notice*
Most of the restaurants and places are no pets allowed.
I don't really see pets going around with locals. It seems that dogs here are more for guarding.
In tourist areas some people are not that happy seeing dogs around.
Local dogs might be very aggressive.
Even Noel stay onboard without going on land and were anchored far from the beach in St. Lucia we still found ticks on him. They must fly with the wind!
Dogs should be on leech at all time.
Dogs are not allowed in the public bus but taxis would be fine with no more extra charge (from our experience).
Basic and main medications can be found here but less choices than in some place like St. Thomas for example.
Dog boarding is 28 EC per day including food but is fine if you prefer to bring your own pet food.
Beware of pet poisoning, do not let your dog eat anything from the floor.

Arriving St. Lucia
One day sail from Dominica to St. Lucia
Swimming time!
Noel underwater 
Can you see the fishes tried to follow Noel?
Baby and dog happy swimming 
Blinking!
Where is my house?
He tried to catch his own shade!
The beach and Noel

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