This article gives you detailed information about importing pets into the Cayman Islands. It lists the current regulations and laws, and also suggests insider tips into making the pet transport process easier. Please note their list of restrictions on pet travel importing from various countries and restrictions on importing a few specific breeds of dog.
Pet travel regulations
The process for importing animals into Cayman is a lengthy one, but easy as long as you know the time scales. You need to start planning at least 6 months prior to shipment. All dogs and cats entering the Cayman Islands must have an Import Permit issued by the Department of Agriculture.
Application forms are available from them at Tel: (345) 947 3090, Fax: (345) 947 6501 or email Colin.Wakelin@gov.ky. As soon as you know that you would like to import your pet, contact them and ask them to send you the application form. The sooner you do this the better.
To get this import permit, the following are the basic requirements for importation from the US, Canada and other countries where rabies is endemic. For countries which are rabies free, the requirements are less stringent and much quicker.
Your pet must have had an approved type of microchip fitted PRIOR to the rabies vaccination being administered. If the vaccination was given before the chip being inserted, it will have to be repeated.
The animal has to be vaccinated against rabies using an approved inactivated vaccine.
Your pet must then take a blood test, which must show a serum antibody level of at least 0.5 IU.ml. Your pet will be allowed into the Cayman Islands 6 months after the date of the blood sample showing a successful test result.
The address in the US where the blood has to be sent for the titres to be done is the Kansas State University Rabies Laboratory:
Kansas State University
2005 Research Park Circle
Manhattan, KS 66502
(For the address in countries other than the US your vet will be able to assist you. Please contact the Department of Agriculture for more information.)
UK residents must apply to DEFRA (Ministry of Agriculture in your home town) for the Official Health Certificate (application form) to bring a pet into the Cayman Islands a few weeks before you travel (one can be used for multiple pets). This will be sent direct to your vet. Please note that this only applies to the UK.
Not more than 14 days prior to departure, you must have a registered veterinarian complete an official health certificate and treat your pet for tapeworms and ticks with an approved product. This must be recorded on the health certificate. This certificate then needs to go to a government vet of the country of origin for endorsement (USDA, CFIA, DEFRA etc.). Call or go online to locate the one nearest you.
You must then fax the Official Health Certificate, completed application form and a copy of the rabies lab report to the Department of Agriculture. They will fax an Import Certificate back to you. The application fee is per animal and can be paid in the form of a bank draft or International Money order made payable to the Cayman Islands Government.
A tip is to send this fee before you even have the vet do the 14-day inspection as the mail can take a few weeks to get to the Cayman Islands, and they will not issue an import certificate without this fee. The health certificate is valid for 14 days.
Note: The Cayman Islands is rabies free and, to keep this deadly zoonotic disease out of Cayman, no exceptions will be made by the government of the Cayman Islands. Inability to meet all requirements can lead to the destruction of or the return to the country of origin of any illegally imported animals.
Do not underestimate the importance of following the Department of Agriculture's import rules to the letter. The requirements are liable to change from time to time so ask for any recent updates.
There are certain countries from which cats and dogs are prohibited (but are not limited to): Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
There are several breeds of dogs prohibited (as well as mixes of; if the animal is of mixed breed, please provide a picture) from entering the Cayman Islands: Mallanois, Rottweiller, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argebtino, Fila Brazileiro, Chinese Shar-Pei, Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Akita, Staffordshire, Mastiff (Old English mastiff and pug are some exceptions).
The Cayman Islands Dangerous Dogs Law states that all the above dogs who are currently on the Cayman Islands must be micro-chipped, have a rabies shot, spayed or neutered, registered with the Department of Agriculture and Liability Insurance be taken out up to the value of CI$100,000.
In the UK more information can be gained from the PETS Helpline. Their new address is www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/ quarantine/index.htm (click on site map and then fact sheets). Email: email@example.com. Tel: +44 (0) 870 241 1710.
Heartworm disease is a deadly condition that is transmissible by mosquitoes in Cayman and affects both dogs and cats. It is likely that your pet will get heartworm disease if not treated monthly.
Without preventive medication every dog and cat on the Island is likely to become infested with fleas and ticks at some time during its life. Fleas and ticks breed rapidly in warm weather. Frontline medication is available from your veterinarian.
Feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are serious diseases in cats. Both viruses are spread contagiously from cat to cat and are very common amongst the stray population. To minimize your cat's risk for these diseases, there are vaccines available.
Parvovirus, hepatitis and leptospirosis are infectious viruses that are highly contagious to dogs. All these viruses are common amongst dogs that are not vaccinated.
The Cayman Islands is a rabies free country, however you can keep your pet's rabies vaccination current at the Department of Agriculture.
Due to the threat of hurricanes, every family should have an emergency preparedness plan that includes your pets. Hurricane shelters on the Islands do not allow animals. Familiarize yourself with the import and export regulations to ensure that your pet can evacuate and return to the Island safely.
(Reproduced from the Resident magazine website – caymannewresident.com.)