Due to the war in Ukraine a large exodus of refugees has headed for western countries. Refugees and Dutch people from Ukraine or Russia, travelling with their pets to the Netherlands, are faced with rules concerning the import of their animal.
Considering the humanitarian situation, the rules concerning transporting companion animals are temporarily eased. These animals, travelling with their owner, are now allowed into the EU, without having to meet the EU import rules, and without the required prior permission. Animals travelling without a private owner, such as traders, organisations or third parties are excluded from the easing of rules. With respect to these animals one has to comply with the rules required for entry.
To prevent the introduction of infectious diseases, the imported companion animals must be seen by a vet as soon as possible, to meet the EU import rules. Vets need to be alert for symptoms indicating Brucella canis, rabies, distemper, parvo (dog and cat) and canine adeno-virus infections. For more information please go to de website of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Vetinf@ct gives veterinary information about how to deal with companion animals from Ukraine or Russia with an unknown health status.
Report animals from Ukraine or Russia at the NVWA
Report to the NVWA website the dogs, cats and ferrets you have seen in your veterinary practice. Upon arrival in the Netherlands, it is mandatory for the owners to see a vet straight away. Take down contact details, and – if known - the place of residence of the owner and the animal and report this for timely registration. Subsequently, the NVWA will assess the rabies risk and will inform you or the owner whether official quarantine measures are required. This will be the case when the animal is not chipped and has not been vaccinated against rabies, or has not arrived with the owner, requiring import rules to be abided by.
In case an animal from Ukraine shows symptoms of rabies, which is a notifiable disease, the Landelijk Meldpunt Dierziekten (045) 546 31 88, needs to be informed instantly.
Other companion animals
Strict import rules apply for companion birds and caudata (salamanders). With respect to birds, this is due to a possible risk of bird flu. These animals need to be reported to the NVWA and in case of symptoms it is advised to contact the Landelijk Meldpunt Dierziekten of the NVWA instantly.
Other small companion animals, such as rabbits, do not need to be reported to the NVWA, nor do owners need to report to the vet.
Prevent biting, scratching and licking incidents with these animals. It is advisable to always muzzle the animal while visiting the vet. Take all precautionary measures to avoid contact with other animals in the vets’ practice, for instance by making separate appointments.
Furthermore, it is advised to pay particular attention to hygiene when handling animals with an unknown heath status. Take care of good hand hygiene and wear gloves, use a plaster for small wounds, wear an extra outer layer of clothing, a face screen and protective glasses. More information on hygiene measures you will find on the website of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
It is not necessary to preventively vaccinate all vets and para-veterinarians against rabies. Take the required precautionary measures when treating an animal. In case of biting incidents or contact with mucous membranes or skin infections with saliva (see precautionary measures) contact a GP or the GGD instantly for a risk assessment and possible further actions.
With respect to dogs, cats or ferrets from Ukraine or Russia, the EU import rules are applicable. Check whether the animal is chipped or needs to be chipped.
Further important information
Do you need help as a vet, for instance if the influx in your practice is to much to handle all the animals, or if working pro bono has reached its limits and the financial side is getting out of hand, or do you require help in treating or caring for animals from Ukraine, contact hulpvoordierenuitoekraine.nl, available from Monday up till Friday by phone +31 88-8113333 or mail firstname.lastname@example.org.