Health Certificates for Travel

Are you traveling with your pet?

Everyone wants things to go as smoothly as possible when traveling, especially when taking our pets along! It is important to realize that there is a great deal of paperwork and regulations involved when choosing to travel with your pet. Please make sure that you allow yourself plenty of time to research and plan prior to traveling, since many requirements are time sensitive.

Drs. Binder and Wind at Triangle Animal Clinic are accredited by the USDA to sign Health Certificates for your pets as you prepare for domestic and international travel.

What is a pet health certificate and how do I get one?
If your pet is crossing state lines your pet must be accompanied by a valid rabies certificate, and a health certificate may be required by the state. If your pet is crossing international borders a health certificate is required. The health certificate, also known as a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), is an official document stating that an animal has been examined by a licensed, USDA-accredited veterinarian and has been found free of communicable diseases or parasites as of the day the Certificate is issued. If a veterinarian is concerned that your pet has a communicable disease, he/she cannot issue a health certificate. Also, the certificate lists the recent vaccine types and dates of administration. States and countries require different vaccines for travel. Most require microchip identification, blood testing, quarantine, or other specialized forms. You will need a CVI specific to the state or country of destination, and some airlines require a separate Acclimation Certificate. Both of these certificates can only be completed and signed by an accredited veterinarian. 

When you return home, we may recommend a follow-up examination to make sure that your pet did not acquire any disease or parasites while traveling.

Triangle Animal Clinic’s Health Certificate Policy
Same-day health certificate appointments may be available, but is dependent on doctor availability. Please refer to the checklist below for what you will need in regard to calling airlines, readying rabies and other certificates, and the difference between Hawaii and other states. International health certificates are very complicated and time sensitive. Please plan appropriately. We recommend using a pet shipping broker/pet transporter for international travel, as the logistics of international pet travel continue to become more complicated. There are several available in the Houston area.

Domestic Health Certificate Checklist
For traveling with your pet within the United States of America (except Hawaii):
     1. Health certificates do not need to be endorsed by the USDA, but do need to be signed by a veterinarian
     2.Most interstate travel requires a health certificate; this is especially important for airline travel
          a. Visit to find what is required for the state that you are traveling to
          b. Call the airline to find out their requirements
               i. Travel carrier requirements
               ii. Location of pet in plane
               iii. Sedation policy
               iv. Health certificate / vaccination / parasite control requirements
          c. Provide a copy of current rabies certificate, if not performed at Triangle Animal Clinic
     3. Keep a copy of your domestic health certificate with you while traveling
     4. Domestic health certificates are typically valid for ten (10) days when flying and thirty (30) days if traveling by land
     5. If traveling to Hawaii, please see the USDA’s website for this state’s unique requirements
     6. Please complete this form and drop off your pet's documentation to Triangle Animal Clinic 48 hours prior to the date of the health certificate examination

International Health Certificate Checklist
For traveling with your pet outside of the United States of America, including Hawaii:
     1. Visit and research the requirements of the country you are visiting
          a. Be sure to check regularly as requirements can change without notice
          b. Verify if your pet will automatically be quarantined (this is based on the destination country’s quarantine policy)
          c. Many countries have specific microchip requirements
          d. Look for additional testing requirements prior to travel, such as vaccine titers, parasite testing or treatment, etc., prior to travel
               i. Some of these tests are required weeks to months prior to travel – plan accordingly!
     2. Call the airline to find out their requirements
          a. Travel carrier requirements
          b. Location of pet in plane
          c. Sedation policy
          d. Health certificate / vaccination / parasite control requirements
     3. Have definitive travel plans with specific dates and a DESTINATION ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER
     4. Determine if USDA endorsement is required
          a. Endorsement fees and schedule is available at
          b. Endorsement fees are paid at the time of USDA endorsement and are separate from the fees Triangle Animal Clinic may charge to issue the certificate or documents
     5. Health certificates typically need to be issued within ten (10) days of travel, but that needs to consider the logistics of having the document sent to the USDA’s office in Austin to be endorsed, returned, and office hours
     6. Please complete this form and have your pet’s complete medical records, forms and previously prepared documentation transferred to Triangle Animal Clinic 48 hours prior to the date of the health certificate examination


You and your family may choose to bring your pet along on a cruise. If your pet will be leaving the boat or ship, he or she may also have to meet the requirements of each country where your pet will be off-loading. The first step when facilitating a pet export by ship is to obtain the itinerary information. Once the itinerary information has been obtained, we can contact the local USDA-APHIS office for guidance on what health certificates and additional documents your pet may need based on your travel itinerary. Commercial cruise ships that allow pets to travel may have additional requirements. You should check with your cruise line to determine what requirements they may have, if any.

After your pet’s examination, the Health Certificate will be sent overnight to the State Veterinarian in Austin. Alternatively, you can take the Certificate in person to be endorsed Monday through Friday from 7:30 am – 1:30 pm (walk in only). Allow at least 3-5 business days for processing via mail. Most health certificates are only valid for ten (10) days following the date of issue, including shipping/processing time.

Updated 05/09/2019

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Triangle Animal Clinic


7:00 am-6:00 pm


7:00 am-6:00 pm


7:00 am-6:00 pm


7:00 am-6:00 pm


7:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-12:00 pm




Find us on the map


Read What Our Clients Say

  • "I brought Pumpkin to see Dr. Hadash. He was very professional and thorough. He took the necessary tests and prescribed the necessary meds. Dr. Hadash is excellent."
    Wanda A.
  • "I brought Pumpkin to see Dr. Hadash. He was very professional and thorough. He took the necessary tests and prescribed the necessary meds. Dr. Hadash is excellent."
    Michael W.
  • "They were great at explaining everything and treated me and my dog very well. They spoiled my dog with a few treats which she loved."
    Jeremy P.

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Fish

    If you’re thinking of getting a pet fish, you should know that your veterinarian has a lot of good advice about pet ownership. Fish can be very rewarding as pets, and you just may be surprised about how much fish actually interact with their owners. Here’s more valuable information about choosing ...

    Read More
  • Caring for Senior Cats

    Thanks to advancements in veterinary care, today’s cats can live well into their teen years. It is not uncommon for cats to live to be 18 or even older. However, in order for cats to live a long full life, they need proactive veterinary care to stay healthy. As cats age, they are at greater risk for ...

    Read More
  • Feline Stomatitis: Treatments

    Cats rarely display their pain, but cats with feline stomatitis are often the exception. If your cat appears to have mouth pain, is reluctant to eat, doesn't want to groom, is drooling, and doesn't want you to open its mouth, it may be suffering from this debilitating, degenerative oral condition, and ...

    Read More
  • Feline Leukemia Virus: What You Need to Know

    Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a virus that weakens your cat's immune system. Unfortunately, when the immune system does not function properly, your cat may be more likely to develop other diseases, such as cancer and blood disorders. How Cats Contract Feline Leukemia Cats get feline leukemia from other cats. ...

    Read More
  • Family Cats and Pregnant Women: Take Measures to Prevent Toxoplasmosis Infection

    Nothing must spoil the joys of becoming a new parent. Not even your pets. But family cats with normal, every day habits can pose a risk to expectant women. Women's immune systems can be disturbed by a parasite carried in fecal matter. If you're the primary caretaker of your family's feline friend it ...

    Read More
  • Create an Environment Your Cat Will Love

    The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery confirms that feline emotional wellbeing, behavior and physical health are a result of how comfortable they are in their environment. Understanding how our cats interact with their environment can help us create a space for owners and cats to mutually thrive ...

    Read More
  • Catnip: Why Cats Love It

    Few things stimulate a cat's pleasure faster than catnip. Exposure to this simple herb can reveal a new side to their feline personality. Many cats will go crazy at the smell of this plant. Catnip has a reputation of being a feline drug and many cat owners wonder if it is safe to give it to their pet. ...

    Read More
  • Zoonosis

    Zoonosis refers to diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals. In particular, they occur when an infected animal passes on bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses to humans through scratches, saliva, feces and urine. Vectors (e.g., organisms like fleas and ticks) can also carry zoonotic diseases ...

    Read More
  • Sugar Gliders

    Thinking of getting a sugar glider? These tiny marsupials are energetic and friendly, making them popular choices as pets. Though they weigh less than a half-pound, they're more closely related to kangaroos than they are flying squirrels. If you think a sugar glider would make an ideal pet for your family, ...

    Read More
  • Epilepsy

    Epilepsy (often referred to as a seizure disorder) is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is commonly controlled with medication, although surgical methods are used as well. Epileptic seizures are classified both by their patterns of activity in the brain ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles