Rabies Vaccination and Travel Health Certificate

Our dogs' 3 year UK rabies vaccinations expire on 21st August 2023 and today, 16th August, they received their new rabies vaccinations.

We had planned to depart for France on 31st August.  However when I called the vet who did our last THC  I was advised I had to wait 21 days before the rabies vaccination becomes valid.  I was under the impression, (indeed I had asked the vet at the last visit to collect the THC), if I had to wait the 21 days, and she said no, as long as you had the new 3 year rabies vaccination before the expiry of the last one.

So I call the same vet to be told by the receptionist I have to wait 21 days.  I sent them PDF of last rabies vaccination/batch number/dates etc to show that I was having the new vaccination BEFORE the expiry date and also this from HMGov web site:-


"When you can travel

You must wait 21 days to travel after your pet is vaccinated. Day 1 is the day after the rabies vaccination.

You do not need to wait to travel after a booster vaccination if there has been no break in the vaccine cover."

They are still adamant I have to wait 21 days and say that a "booster" refers to annual rabies vaccination like they give in the EU.  I say to them that in the UK the rabies vaccination lasts for 3 years, we don't have annual vaccinations as far as I am aware.  Then they say that the "booster" refers to the annual booster dogs get for Parvo etc.  I say - the border control don't check those types of vaccinations for dogs.  No, they won't book me an appointment until 21 days have passed from the date of the new vaccination.  

So I resign myself to changing the date of my crossing and lots of other changes.

Now, as I say today I went to our registered vets to get the rabies vaccinations, a different veterinary practice.  The vet there said no, we didn't have to wait 21 days as the new rabies vaccination is before 21st August.  She said she would double check and call me back which may take a couple of days.

I am so stressed with this.  If my regular vet comes back and says we can get the THC and depart on our planned departure date I will still feel extremely anxious about being turned away at the Port due to the other vet insisting we can't do this.  When I say vet - it was the receptionist but she said she would check with the vet there and confirm it and I asked her if she had done this and she said she had.

I don't know if Brittany Ferries would be able to confirm this or not and I am reluctant to go by the advice of one of their agents.  I've no idea if I could even contact HMGov to get clarification.  If it's anything like contacting HMRC I can forget it.

I wondered if there were any pet owners who have travelled to the EU since Brexit and have renewed their rabies vaccination less than 21 days before obtaining a  THC.  It's unfortunate for me that the rabies expiry date falls now and not a month or so ago!


  • thriftytracey
    thriftytracey Forumite Posts: 536
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I have spoken to two other veterinary practices (actual vets that provide the AHC).  They confirmed the original advice I was given was incorrect.  You do not have to wait 21 days as long as there is no break between vaccinations.

    I won't be using that vet again.  They have since apologised for the "confusion".
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