INFORMATION ON IMPORTING OF DOGS AND CATS INTO THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

Updated on the 29-06-2006

General

A veterinary import permit is needed to import Dogs & Cats into South Africa.

Cats are not routinely quarantined on arrival in South Africa. The cat must however have had a rabies vaccination not more then a year and not less then 30 days before being imported, must have a valid import permit and a correctly completed health certificate, signed and stamped by a government veterinarian of the exporting country.

Quarantine of 14 days will be imposed on some dogs, depending on the country of origin of the dog. Dogs from the following list of countries below do not need to go into quarantine on arrival in South Africa. The dog must however have a valid import permit and a correctly completed health certificate, signed and stamped by a government veterinarian of the exporting country.
Europe.
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

North America
Canada and United States of America

Australasia
Australia and New Zealand,

Africa
- Botswana, Comoros, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Reunion.

Asia
Israel

South America
Argentina

Before a quarantine booking for a dog can be confirmed, the importer must sign an indemnity form. Copies of the indemnity form can be obtained from Dr Gilfillan at the Import Export Policy Unit, the permit office and from the two quarantine stations (see contact details below). The original signed indemnity form needs to either be handed in at the quarantine station were the dog will be quarantined or the original signed indemnity form needs to be posted to the quarantine station. Faxed and scanned copies will not be accepted. Bookings at the quarantine stations will only be confirmed on receipt of the original signed indemnity form.

If you are importing a dog from an island please contact the Import Export Policy Unit to find out if your dog will be quarantined on arrival in South Africa.

All dogs and cats imported into South Africa must be permanently identified with a microchip (tattoos will not be accepted).

The microchip must be able to be read by an ISO 11784 or ISO 11785 scanners.

Dogs that will be quarantined on arrival in South Africa may only be imported into South Africa via Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airports. Dogs that are being imported from countries not subject to quarantine and cats can also be imported into South Africa via Durban International Airport. Dogs and cats will not be allowed to enter South Africa via any other airport.

All dogs and cats imported into South Africa must be registered as manifest cargo and can not fly as excess baggage. The Directorate Animal Health does not have veterinary officials at the passenger terminal of Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airport to check the paper work of dogs entering South Africa via the passenger terminal of the respective airports. The dogs and cats can only disembark via the cargo terminal of the respective airports.

If the airline will allow it the dog or cat may travel in the cabin with the owner but the animal must be registered as manifest cargo and the airline staff must take the animal from the owner on landing so that the animal can be off loaded from the plane via the cargo terminal.

On arrival at the airport the original Veterinary Import Permit issued by the Directorate Animal Health and the original Veterinary Health Certificate signed, stamped and certified by Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country must be presented to the veterinary officials at the airport before the dog or cat can be released. The documents can either travel with the animal or the person collecting the animal must present the documents to the officials at the airport. The latter is only for animals that are not going into Quarantine on arrival in South Africa. The paperwork of animals going into quarantine must travel with the animal.

Testing of Dogs

Before dogs can be imported the dog needs to be certified free from the following five diseases by means of blood tests. The dog’s blood can either be tested in the country of origin or it can be sent to South Africa for testing.

Disease
Brucella canis
Trypanosoma evansi
Babesia gibsoni
Dirofilaria immitis
Leishmania

If the Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country can certify that the exporting country is free from one or more of the above mentioned five diseases then the dogs exported to South Africa do not need to have blood tests done for the disease that the exporting country is free from.

We require the following test or tests to be used for the above mentioned five diseases

Brucella canis serum agglutination
Trypanosoma evansi card agglutination test
and giemsa blood smear
Babesia Gibsoni Immunoflouresence antibody test
and giemsa blood smear
Dirofilaria immitis microfilarial filtration test
Leishmaniosis: Indirect fluorescent antibody
  or ELISA
  or Direct agglutination test
  or Western blot/membrane imunoassay

If the samples need to be sent to South Africa, these must be sent by air, accompanied by a copy of the OVI master import permit for the import of diagnostic specimen, under cover of an air waybill/courier waybill for testing to –

DIRECTOR (ATTENTION: DR LAURA LOPEZ)
VETERINARY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
PRIVATE BAG X5 TEL. NO.:27/12/529 9272
ONDERSTEPOORT FAX NO.: 27/12/529 9275
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

Please note for dogs that the blood tests for Leishmania, Babesia Gibsoni and Trypanosoma evansi are done on Thursdays. The blood tests for Brucella canis & Dirofilaria immitis are done on Fridays. Therefore please send the samples to be tested well in advance to ensure that the samples arrive at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI) by 8h30 on Thursday or by 9h30 at the OVI Parasitology Laboratory. No requests will be granted for the above tests to be done on other days of the week.

The samples specimens required for testing each dog are as follows -

- 2ml. Whole blood collected in an evacuated blood collecting tube with EDTA. - purple top.

- 2 x 2ml. Whole blood collected in a normal evacuated blood collecting tube - red top.

- 2 x blood smears - unfixed and unstained – wrapped separately in tissue paper - then protected from moisture in a water proof plastic bag.

The samples are to be securely packed and clearly marked “Keep Refrigerated”. The Samples are to be accompanied by a copy of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute Master Veterinary Import Permit for the Import of Diagnostic Specimens (OVIMVIP) and by a certificate issued by the Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country in which the following information is furnished.

- Number of the OVIMVIP referred to above
- Full description of the dog(s)
- Type and Number of Samples
- Tests required - see above
- Consignee
- Consignor
- Air Way Bill number and Flight Number

----- Arrangements must be made with the OVI regarding payment for the tests prior to commencement of the tests. Contact the laboratory at the above telephone numbers to get more information on what samples have to be submitted, how the samples have to be packaged and the cost of the tests.

----- The blood samples must be sent by air as cargo and can not be brought in by private individuals as part of their luggage. The samples can only enter South Africa via Johannesburg International Airport.

----- Please contact Dr Gilfillan at e-mail address charlesg@nda.agric.za for a copy of the Master Veterinary Import Permit referred to above.

Please note that any dog testing positive for any of the above mentioned five diseases will not be eligible for import into South Africa.

Blood tests need to be done within 30 days of the date of export to South Africa.

Dogs imported from countries not certified free from Trypanosoma evansi must be treated from the date of negative testing until export with Suramin or Diminazene aceturate, according to the instructions for use thereof by the manufacturer.

Dogs imported from countries not certified free from Dirofilaria immitis must be treated from the date of negative testing until export at the required intervals with:

- Diethylcarbamazine (5-6 mg/kg per os daily) OR
- Ivermectin (6 micrograms/kg per os monthly) OR
- Milbemycin oxime (0,5 mg/kg per os monthly) OR
- Moxidectin (3 micrograms/kg per os monthly) OR
- Selemectin (6mg/kg)
- (Revolution) Prophylactic only OR
- Proheart SR12 (Subcut injection yearly)* (If the date of the negative test falls within 11 months of giving the Proheat SR12 subcut injection then no further Dirofilaria immitis treatment is required.)

Sufficient Dirofilaria immitis medication needs to accompany the dog to South Africa so that the dogs can receive a six month course of medication after importation into South Africa.

All dogs that have to be quarantined on arrival in South Africa will be retested for the above mentioned five diseases. This is regardless of the results of the blood tests done before the dog was exported to South Africa and is done at the owner’s expense.

Dogs found positive for the above mentioned five diseases will not be released from Quarantine.

If, while in quarantine, a dog is found to be positive for Brucella canis, Lieshmania or Babesia gibsoni, the dog will either be returned to the exporting country or euthanized in the quarantine station. This will be done at the owner’s expense.

If, while in quarantine, a dog is found to be positive for Dirofilaria immitis or Trypanasoma evansi, the dog will treated in the quarantine station or sent back to the exporting country. This will be done at the owner’s expense.

Applying for a veterinary import permit

Please refer to the:

Department of Agriculture