International Health Certificates

Liberty Veterinary Clinic is proud to offer USDA certificates for international travel.

If you want to travel internationally with your pet, you need to plan many months ahead. Every country has different requirements for allowing pets into their country. Please visit this USDA website to find more information about each country’s requirements.

Though every country has different requirements, most require a health certificate that is completed by a USDA-accredited veterinarian. Dr. Patten is a USDA accredited veterinarian with many years of experience completing  international health certificates.

Most countries also require at a minimum, a signed valid Rabies certificate. The Rabies certificate must contain detailed information about the Rabies vaccine, including the lot number. Many countries also require an ISO-compliant microchip. This is a 15 digit microchip number.  The microchip must be implanted before the Rabies vaccine for the vaccine to be considered valid.

Preparing for Your Travel

First you will schedule a health certificate consultation so we can review your pet’s information and the specific requirements for your country. This will help expedite the process and will help us determine if you are able to meet the requirements for your country.

  • If you are not a current client or have other medical records for your pet elsewhere, please make sure you bring those records with you or send a copy to our staff prior to your appointment.
  • Make sure you are aware of all the requirements for your travel. We will do our best to make sure you have everything you’ll need, but if certain requirements are not met, you may be denied entry or your pet may be quarantined at the border.
  • Be aware of timing! Most certificates are required to be signed by both a USDA certified veterinarian and a USDA APHIS Veterinary Services endorsement officer within 10 days of travel but many other medical requirements have waiting periods as well.
  • You cannot apply for an International Health Certificate the day before or the day of international travel.

USDA Endorsement Instructions

Most countries require the examination, filling out of the health certificate, and endorsement by the USDA, to all, be done in the 10-day window before you land in the international country.

After your health certificate consultation, you may schedule your health certificate appointment. At this appointment, Dr. Patten will examine your pet and fill out the health certificate. You must then ship the health certificate overnight to the USDA for endorsement. You include a prepaid overnight return envelope to have the endorsed health certificate returned to you. We do not submit health certificates electronically and the USDA no longer accepts in-person appointments.

What does it mean to spay or neuter my pet?

The words “spay” and “neuter” mean to sterilize your pet.  We use the term “spay” when we refer to sterilizing a female dog or cat, and we use the term “neuter” when we refer to sterilizing a male dog or cat.  When a female pet is spayed we remove the ovaries and the uterus.  When a male pet is neutered we removed the testicles.  After a pet is spayed or neutered he/she will no longer be able to have puppies or kittens.

How long does a spay or neuter take?

The length of surgery depends on the size of your pet and whether the surgery is a spay or a neuter. Neutering procedures in general take less time than spays.  Surgery time can range from 15 to 45 minutes. In addition to the surgery time there is presurgical time when we prepare your pet for surgery and anesthesia.  There is also the anesthetic recovery period after surgery.

How long will it take for my pet to recover from being spayed or neutered?

Most pets are fully recovered from surgery within 10-14 days. During the recovery period it is important to restrict your pet’s activity to allow time for the surgery to heal. Your pet should not run, jump or play while recovering. He or she should only go outside on a leash to eliminate.  All pets go home with an E-collar to prevent them from licking their incision.

How do I schedule a spay or neuter?

All pets need a complete physical exam performed by our doctor before having surgery.  If you are interested in having your pet spayed or neutered please call us at the above number to schedule an appointment.

Does my pet need bloodwork performed before the surgery?

Bloodwork is required before surgery to make sure the pet is safe to undergo anesthesia and the surgical procedure.

Do you place microchips?

Yes, we do place microchips.  Microchips are a great way to make sure your pets gets home safely if they are ever lost.  We can place the microchip while your pet is being spayed or neutered or during your pet’s exam. Anesthesia is not required to place the microchip but because a large needle is used to place the microchip, we often microchip pets when they are under anesthesia for their spay or neuter.

How much does it cost to spay or neuter my pet?

Surgery prices vary based on the size and specific needs of your pet. Please call us for an estimate.

What time will my pet be able to go home after surgery?

Most pets are able to go home in the early afternoon or evening.

What are the benefits of spaying my female dog or cat?

Spaying prevents unwanted pregnancies and litters.

Spaying a female dog before her first heat significantly reduces her chances of developing mammary cancer.

Spaying prevents the development of pyometra, a life threatening infection of the uterus. Spaying also prevents many other diseases associated with the uterus and ovaries.

A spayed female will not go into heat.

What are the benefits of neutering my male dog or cat?

Neutering prevents unwanted pregnancies and litters.

Neutered males are less likely to roam, thus decreasing their risk for being hit by a car and fighting with other animals.

Neutering prevents testicular cancer and reduces the risk for prostatic disease.

Neutered male cats are less likely to mark with urine spraying.

When should I have my pet spayed or neutered?

Most dogs and cats should be spayed or neutered around 4-6 months of age. It is best to spay female dogs before their first heat. Spaying a female dog before her first heat significantly reduces her chances of developing mammary cancer.

My pet is older, should I still have him/her spayed or neutered?

Yes, older pets still receive health benefits from being spayed or neutered.  At Liberty Veterinary Clinic we take every precaution, such as using different types of anesthesia, to make surgery as safe as possible for our older patients.

Will my pet's behavior change after being spayed and neutered?

Spaying/neutering  will not change your pet’s basic personality.  Spaying/neutering may reduce urine marking, aggression, and roaming behavior.

Will my pet gain weight after being spayed or neutered?

Some pets may have a tendency to gain weight after being spayed or neutered. With proper diet and exercise you pet can remain at healthy weight after surgery.

Will spaying or neutering be painful for my pet?

At Liberty Veterinary Clinic we try to make every surgery as pain free and as stress free as possible for your pet.  All pets receive an injection of pain medicine for their surgery and go home with oral pain medication.

Will neutering my cat prevent urine spraying and marking?

Urine spraying and marking is most common in adult male cats that have not been neutered.  Neutering your cat will decrease the likelihood of your cat spraying or marking.  It is best to neuter a male cat before he reaches adulthood.

Do you do surgeries other than spays and neuters?

Yes, we perform many different types of soft tissue surgeries.  We perform spays, neuters, mass removals, bladder stone removals, tail amputations, laceration and wound repairs, abscess repairs, and other soft tissue surgeries.

What is a vaccine?

Vaccines trigger a protective immune response in your pet. This immune response helps your pet to fight off infections and diseases.

Why should I vaccinate my pet?

Dogs and cats should be vaccinated to protect them from contagious and sometimes deadly diseases.   The appropriate vaccines will help keep your pet healthy.

Which vaccines should my dog receive?

Most dogs should receive the core vaccines, which are rabies and DA2PP.  DA2PP protects against distemper virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvo virus.  Additional non-core vaccines may be recommended depending on your dog’s life style.  Some non-core vaccines are bordetella (kennel cough), leptospirosis, lyme, and influenza.

Which vaccines should my cat receive?

Most cats should receive the core vaccines, which are rabies virus and FVRCP.  FVRCP protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calici virus, and panleukopenia.  Cats that frequently go outside may also receive a vaccine for feline leukemia virus.

How often should my pet receive vaccines?

Most puppies and kittens receive vaccines at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks of age.  Some puppies and kittens may need additional vaccines after this series.  When your pet finishes the puppy or kitten series of vaccines, boosters are then given once a year or every 3 years depending on the type of vaccine.

What are the risks of vaccinating my pet?

Vaccines prevent many illnesses and diseases in pets. However, all medical procedures are associated with some risk. In very rare cases a pet may have an adverse reaction to the vaccine.  Liberty Veterinary Clinic uses the safest vaccines available to minimize any potential for adverse reactions. We also make sure that your pet is never over vaccinated, and only receives the vaccines he/she needs.  For cats we only use Merial PUREVAX vaccines, which are non adjuvanted to reduce the risk of side effects in cats.

What should I expect after my pet’s vaccination?

Most pets do not show any side effects after being vaccinated.  Some may become a little tired or may have some mild pain at the site of the vaccine injection, which is normal. If you notice any facial swelling, hives, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, trouble breathing, or collapse, please seek veterinary care immediately.

Will vaccines change my pet’s behavior?

No, your pet’s behavior will not change after being vaccinated.

My cat never goes outside, does he/she still need to be vaccinated?

Yes!  It is possible for you or your house guests to bring in infectious diseases which could affect your cat. Bats and raccoons infected with rabies have also been known to come into houses through chimneys, open windows, or doors.  Rabies virus is one of the most deadly viruses for pets and people. We strongly recommend all cats be vaccinated to protect their health and your health.  Pennsylvania law also requires that all dog and cats be vaccinated for rabies.

What is a vaccine titer? Can I have a vaccine titer performed instead of vaccinating my pet?

A serological titer is a measure of the antibody response in your pet.   For some pets we may run serological titers to determine if the pet has an appropriate immune response and should be revaccinated.  Some pets are also unable to be vaccinated due to specific medical conditions.  For these pets we may run titers to determine the pet’s risk level.

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