The Department of Agriculture has aligned requirements that cover the date ofvalidity of acceptable rabies neutralising antibody titres (RNAT) for dogs andcats for export to Australia.

For permit applications received on and after 20 January 2020, acceptableRNATs will be dated from arrival of the sample at the testing laboratory. Theminimum 180 day pre-export period spent outside Australia where an RNAT isrequired will now commence on that same date, as has been the case where dogsand cats were being prepared for export in a non-approved country.

Dogs and cats can only be exported to Australia from a country approved byAustralia for that purpose (an approved country). Australia recognises thatmany owners live in countries not approved to directly export the dogs or catsto Australia (non-approved countries). Step-by-step guides allow forpreparation of animals in non–approved countries in ways that manage thebiosecurity risks.

Australia has strict requirements to manage the risk of rabies in all importeddogs and cats. Australia’s import conditions for dogs and cats from countriesit does not accept as free from rabies (Group 3 and non-approved countries)specify that a valid rabies neutralizing antibody titre (RNAT) result must beachieved and maintained for a period of time greater than the internationallyaccepted incubation period for this disease before the animal can be sent toAustralia.

That assurance is primarily met by a testing laboratory accepted by Australiademonstrating an acceptable RNAT in blood taken from the animal not less than180 days prior to export to Australia. For preparation in a non-approvedcountry, the date of validity of the RNAT was accepted as the date when theblood sample was received at the testing laboratory. For preparation of theanimal in a Group 3 country, it was the date when the blood sample was takenfor testing.

Australia has now aligned the requirements covering the date of validity of anacceptable RNAT under both these sets of requirements for administrativepurposes.

For import permit applications for dogs and cats received on and after 20January 2020, the date of a satisfactory RNAT is the date when the bloodsample was received at the laboratory where testing was performed. Owners ofdogs or cats being prepared for export to Australia in any Group 3 or non-approved country should start the 180 day pre-export period for their pet dogor cat on the date the sample that returned the satisfactory RNAT test resultwas received by the testing laboratory.

Further information on how to import your dog and cat into Australia can befound on the department’s website.

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