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The test for animal movement

Here you will find the top five items you need to know in connection with the rabies antibody testand animal movement!

The test for animal movement


A prerequisite for the import of dogs and cats is an unequivocal identification of the animals. While Norway and Sweden at present accept tattooing, the authorities of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Malta demand identification by microchip. The labelling has to take place before vaccination against rabies. For import into the EU tattoo as well as microchip are permitted until 2011; thereafter only microchip identification will be valid.


One prerequisite for import is in all cases a vaccination with an inactivated or vectored rabies vaccine licensed in the country of export and meeting the standards of WHO/OIE. The animal has to be unequivocally identifiable at the time point of vaccination. The first vaccination against rabies is acknowledged when the animal has an age of at least 12 weeks. If an antibody test in conjunction with travelling is planned, a booster vaccination at the age of 16 weeks is recommended in order to achieve the antibody titre of 0.5 IU/ml with probability. Booster vaccinations in general have to be performed within the time period indicated by the vaccine manufacturers. Please note that some importing countries require other revaccination intervals. If revaccination is not performed accordingly any already issued certificate will lose its validity and the test has to be repeated.

Blood sample

Some importing countries require a certain interval between vaccination and blood sampling (see Regulations for entry). Blood samples must be taken by an authorised veterinarian in the exporting country. From the blood sample taken without any additives serum should be prepared (at least 0.5 ml). The serum for antibody titration can be kept in a refrigerator for a number of days or frozen (-20°C) for months.
A number of data including the unequivocal identification of the animal (see above) have to be recorded, e.g. data about the last vaccination against rabies (sample submission form - link). Please note that all sample tubes have to be labelled (e.g. name of the animal, ID) in order to avoid mistakes, and this label must conform with the designation on the sample submission form. The latter also applies when single samples are sent.

Determinationof the antibody titre has to be performed by an approved laboratory. We are authorized as testing laboratory for antibodies against rabies virus for all destinations. The antibody titre valid for imports has to be at least 0.5 IU/ml serum (international units).

Sample Shipment


Within the EU, samples for rabies antibody titration can be sent as “EXEMPT ANIMAL SPECIMEN” by mail or carrier service.

Non EU-Countries

VVD has an import permit (“Einfuhrgenehmigung”) for serum samples from dogs and cats which are destined for rabies antibody titration in connection with the import and re-import of animals into the EU.

Samples from non-EU-countries need an explicit declaration that will be checked at the import (use exact wording):

"Non-infectious serum sample (dog or cat) for titration of rabies antibodies according to the EU regulation on movement of pet animals at an approved laboratory".

In addition, the sample should be accompanied by a pro forma invoice. The pro forma invoice is required for customs clearance without further ado. The amount should be $1 (maximum EUR 22,-) to avoid further taxes.

Finally our current sample submission form (“Antragsformular „) must be attached, including all relevant information (kind and amount of sample material, name and address of the veterinarian and owner, microchip number and date of birth of the animal, data on the last rabies vaccination, signature and stamp of the authorized veterinarian).

When the shipment is inspected at the customs or veterinary border control, additional costs may arise. Please note that we are not able to cover these extra expenses. To ensure the import of your sample it has to be send as DTP ('duty taxes paid'  – choose option with the carrier).

If you fail to declare the shipment as mentioned above we reserve the right to reject the sample or charge an additional fee for the handling.


The samples are analysed in the Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization (FAVN) test according to the regulations of the World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.). In general it takes 3 to 6 days from the receipt of the sample to the issuing of test result (excluding the mail transfer). The original certificate generally is sent to the veterinarian who sent the blood sample. In case the titre of 0.5 IU/ml is not reached the vaccination of the animal has to be repeated, followed by another titre evaluation observing the schedule prescribed by the authorities of the importing country.

If the titre of 0.5 IU/ml is reached, a certificate will be issued and sent by mail (on demand in addition by fax or e-mail) to the veterinary practice that required the test. After receipt of the certificate an authorized veterinarian should confirm the success of the test in the animal's travel document (e.g. EU pet passport). Provided the animal has been regularly revaccinated against rabies according the the regulations of the importing country it is not necessary to repeat the rabies serology test in the following years (please note there are exceptions to this rule, e.g. import to Japan).


We would be happy to provide you with detailed information about prices by phone (+49 641 99 38363) or mail. In general the veterinary practice sending the samples will be charged. If the owner agrees to cover the costs this has to be confirmed by a personal signature of the owner on the sample submission form. Commercial customers (veterinarians) from non EU countries will receive an invoice excluding VAT. Veterinarians from EU countries who wish to receive invoices without VAT have to provide a valid value added tax registration number (VAT-number). Please make sure to include the VAT-number together with the sample to allow correct invoicing.

Payments can be made in advance (in cash together with the sample) or after billing via bank transfer. We can also offer to sent a Paypal-link. Payments via credit cards as well as cheques from outside Germany are not possible!

Please pay attention to our discounts for sending of bulk samples (valid for samples send at the same day from the same veterinarian):

  • 5 - 9 samples: 10 % discount on the standard price
  • 10 - 19 samples: 15 % discount on the standard price
  • 20 samples and more: 20 % discount on the standard price

When paying via bank transfer please implicitly add the following data:

  • IBAN (international bank account number):DE 9451 3400 1302 5855 000
  • BIC (bank identifier code) or SWIFT Number: COBADEFFXXX

Please do not forget to provide the invoice number!

Please note that our customers have to take the responsibility for all bank charges.