Standard pet breeds, such as cats, dogs, birds, horses can be imported without restriction.

When you plan on bringing your pet to Texas, you will be required to vaccinate your pet against Rabies at least 30 days prior departure date and no longer than 12 months (36 months for specific vaccines) of your departure date unless your animal has been in a country free of Rabies for the past 6 months. Even if your pet resided in a Rabies free state, vaccinating against Rabies and other diseases are strongly recommended as there are significant health risks for vaccinated animals in Texas.

The proof of vaccination with a signature of the vet who administered the vaccination will be required before entering the U.S., so bring the vaccination document to the airport to show to the customs agent.

You will also need to speak with your airline several weeks in advance to fully understand their pet travel policies and all applicable fees. Most airlines allow cats to be taken onto the plane in a small carrier but some don’t. Dogs are generally transported in a large plastic pet carrier in the cargo area. Horses and other large animals require a cargo container. Your airline will be able to navigate you through the entire travel process.

Cats and dogs are easy to bring to the U.S. They will only need the proof of vaccination against rabies. Cats and dogs do not require quarantine.

Horses require a negative Coggins (EIA – equine infection anemia), dourine, glanders and equine piroplasmosis tests. They also require quarantine and length is dependent on country of origin with a minimum of three days on arrival in the U.S. Unless importing from Canada, Mexico, Central America or the West Indies, a VS Form 17-129 is required to obtain import approval by the USDA. The fee is $141. If farm animals are imported from countries affected with foot-and-mouth disease, they are additional requirements and this also applies to saddles and other equipment used with the animal.

Birds are regulated by the USDA and require an Import Permit with VS Form 17-129 and 30 days quarantine, in some cases a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services certification and payment of fees.

Reptiles are regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

For more information and specific import rules, please visit the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/index.html.

Also check out the website of the Texas Department of State Health Services at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/health/zoonosis/laws/import/entry/.

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