Luckily for you and your ferret in the UK, since 2000, your furry friend can have their very own ferret passport (officially called a ‘Pet Passport’), under the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS).
Having a ferret passport allows UK owners to take their beloved ferrets abroad with them, whether you are planning a holiday or are moving to another country.
A ferret passports contains the following information:
- Record of all vaccinations and treatments
- Ferret’s name
- Your name
- Physical traits
- Photograph (optional, but adorable)
A ferret passport shows that your ferret is fit and healthy to travel.
It’s rather straight forward to obtain your ferret passport, and the whole process could cost you anywhere between £80 – £150.
The total price is divided into three compulsory costs:
- Rabies Vaccination
- Pet Passport Document
On top of that, there are some extra costs that you should consider, when planning your trip with your ferret:
4. Rabies Blood Test (essential if returning to the UK from an unlisted country)
5. Pet Insurance (optional)
I’ll guide you through all of the costs you will face when obtaining your ferret passport, and give you some tips on how to save some money.
In order to obtain a ferret passport, it’s essential that your ferret has a microchip, or a “transponder”.
A microchip is a little chip around the size of a grain of rice. It is implanted just under your ferret’s skin on its back between his/her shoulder blades. Every microchip contains a unique code that is detectable by a microchip scanner.
Once inserted, don’t worry, your ferret won’t feel any discomfort as it won’t be able to feel the microchip.
If your ferret already has a microchip, you can skip to the next section, as this cost will be £0 for you.
However, if your ferret hasn’t yet been microchipped, we recommend that this is the first step you take when obtaining your ferret passport.
You must have your ferret microchipped BEFORE getting their rabies injection, as the vaccination may not be valid. In this case, your ferret will need the rabies vaccination again.
The cost for a microchip for ferrets in the UK in 2019 ranges between £0 – £30.
This cost depends on who you get it administered by.
a) Through a Veterinary Centre
Prices for a getting your ferret microchipped through a private veterinary centre will range quite a lot, between £7.50 – £30.
Different vet practices charge different amounts, but the average in the uk is around £15.
Your ferret will require a standard microchip in order to get his/her passport, however you also have the option of getting a biotherm chip.
Some veterinary practises offer biotherm chips, which measure your ferret’s body temperature and keep an eye on their health.
Biotherm microchips will cost just a little more than a normal microchip, on average costing around £20.
b) Through a Charity
You’d be glad to hear that it is possible to get your ferret microchipped for free, or for as little as £5!
As very few owners get their pets microchipped, some charities offer this service for free to encourage microchipping.
Unfortunately this service isn’t as common as it is for dogs or cats. However, some branches do provide free microchipping for ferrets.
Where the RSPCA usually offer this service to everyone, some charities may only provide free microchips to those who receive any of the following:
- Universal credit
- Pension credit (not the standard state retirement pension)
- Housing benefit
- Income support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working tax credit
- Council tax benefit (not 25 per cent single person discount)
- Income based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income based employment and support allowance
Give your local charities a call to check if they can microchip your ferret for free, or for a discount, at their branch or at a pop-up event.
If you don’t have a local charity that will microchip your ferret for free, call around to your local vets to find the cheapest price.
COST: £0 – £30
Vaccinations for your ferret
It is compulsory that your ferret is up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
PETS states that your ferret must have had their rabies vaccination within the past year.
In most cases your ferret must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before your arrival. This rule applies if you are travelling to Europe or a listed non-European country.
In addition, if your ferret is being vaccinated for the first time, then he/she must also wait 21 days before travelling.
A rabies vaccination in the UK costs more than standard ferret vaccinations. The average cost is around £40, but some prices can range £20 – £60.
Different veterinary centres charge different amounts, and prices can range depending on which area in the UK you live in.
So, if you would like to save yourself some money, call around a bit before booking them in.
As well as the rabies vaccination, your ferret MAY also require additional vaccinations in order to travel.
This is dependant on the country you and your ferret will be visiting, as different countries and territories have different requirements.
Ferrets are sadly able to catch canine distemper from dogs and wild animals, such as foxes and racoons.
Distemper is a virus that affects a their gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems, as well as the conjunctival membranes of the eye.
Although it is rare and under control in the UK, your ferret could catch it in other parts of the world.
For example – it is still common in Finland and is responsible for the death of many dogs.
A canine distemper vaccine can cost you around £40 on average.
Therefore, you may end up spending more than the average amount, depending on where you and your ferret will be travelling to.
Check if there are any diseases that are common in the area that you are visiting, and consider having your ferret vaccinated, just to be safe.
COST: £20 – £60+
Ferret Passport Application
In 2019, the cost for the official UK Pet Passport is £60.
However, some vets may charge slightly more.
Obtaining your ferret’s passport from the vet is a straight forward process and should take no longer than 30 minutes of your time.
Give your local vet a call to check if they are able to complete the pet passport application forms for you.
If they’re unable, don’t worry, they should be able to give you details of a practice that does.
Alternatively, you can get in contact with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to find your nearest vet practice who can help.
You will need to bring the following to your appointment:
- Your ferret
At the appointment, your veterinarian will check your ferret’s health, review all of your paperwork and complete the pet passport booklet.
Some veterinary clinics offer a pet passport package, in which they will administer the microchip, rabies vaccination and complete all the forms.
Check with your vet to see how much they charge. If you don’t have a local charity to get a free microchip and discounted rabies vaccination, or if you aren’t part of a health club, the package may be work out cheaper.
Rabies Blood Test (essential if returning to the UK from an unlisted country)
If you are planning on returning to the UK from an unlisted country, then your ferret will also need to have a rabies blood test.
The blood test has to be taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination is administered.
Once your vet has taken your ferret’s blood sample, it must be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory from either inside the EU or outside the EU.
The blood rest results must show a sample containing at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody.
Unless the rabies vaccination and blood test were completed before visiting the unlisted country, you must wait 3 months from the date of the blood sample, before re-entering the UK,
In the UK, a rabies blood test will cost you around £60 – £75.
Having said that, some vets can charge up to £120! Therefore, it’s highly recommended to compare prices of your local vets.
So, although this is not an essential part of obtaining a pet passport, it is a cost that you may need consider.
Check whether the country you are visiting is a listed or unlisted country, and whether this applies to you.
COST: £60 – £120
Pet Travel Insurance (OPTIONAL)
Pet travel insurance is not compulsory when getting your ferret passport, however it is recommended as veterinary care can be rather expensive.
Unfortunately, in the UK most pet insurance companies only insure cats and dogs, however there are a few that do cover ferrets. You can get a quote from ExoticPets.
If your ferret is already covered by pet insurance, give your provider a call to check if your he/she is covered for overseas travel.
If so, yay for you! This will come at no cost to you.
However, if your policy does not include overseas travel, ask your provider if it is possible to extend your cover.
For those of you without pet insurance, ferret insurance costs on average £15 per month.
The cost depends on which provider you are covered by, and where you and your ferret live.
Generally, insurance policies will cost less if you live outside of London or other major cities.
This is because veterinary fees tend to cost more within these areas.
Your ferret’s passport will cost you somewhere between £80 – £150.
By knowing your options and doing some simple planning ahead, you can save yourself £70 on your ferret passport!
In order to make those savings, be sure to check your local charities to see if they can offer you microchipping for free, and discounted rabies vaccinations.
As mentioned above, it’s also important to note that your ferret will also need a tapeworm treatment if you are planning on returning to the UK. This will be an extra £20 – £30 on top of the cost for your ferret passport.
Additionally, depending on where you and your ferret are heading, please note that you may require additional vaccinations and potentially a rabies blood test. Check the requirements of the country or territory you are visiting. These can add an extra £40 – £160 to your trip!
Hope this has been helpful.