A step-by-step guide on how to get a CDC approved titer test for your Guatemalan dog or cat so they can enter the United States.
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New CDC Guidelines
The CDC is allowing dogs and cats who are from Guatemala (who do not have a rabies certificate from a licensed US veterinarian) to enter the United States as long as they meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 6 months old
- Provide proof of a ISO-compatible microchip*
- Have a valid foreign rabies vaccination certificate
- Arrive at one of the 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station
- Have a valid rabies serologic titer test from an approved laboratory*
*The microchip required to enter the U.S. is 15-digits.
You can get this ISO-compatible microchip from ACANGUA in Guatemala City.
ACANGUA is the registry of purebred dog pedigrees in Guatemala, similar to the AKC in United States.
To provide proof of a microchip by listing it on a rabies vaccine certificate, or health certificate.
*Note: There is no approved lab in Guatemala. It is OK to use an approved lab from another country.
No approved lab in Guatemala, now what?CDC only accepts rabies serology results from the approved laboratories, including some US labs, listed on their website. CDC will NOT accept results from any laboratories other than the ones listed on their webpage. Approved Rabies Serology Laboratories for Testing Dogs and Cats
What is the process for getting a titer test done in Guatemala?
Have a local veterinarian collect the titer sample and ship it internationally to one of the approved laboratories.
- Titers must be drawn a minimum of 30 days after the dog’s initial vaccination and at least 45 days before US entry.
- Dogs due to receive rabies vaccination boosters may have their titers drawn at any time, but titers are most easily detected at least 30 days after vaccination.
The titer test is valid for 1 year from the date the sample was drawn.
If a US rabies vaccination certificate is still valid, a titer test and a CDC Dog Import Permit are not required, even if a dog received a foreign vaccine booster after the US vaccine was given.
Guide For Using An Approved Lab From The United States:
I looked at the CDC website for approved labs and checkout the labs in the U.S.
For me, the lab at Auburn University was the most informative website.
They were also very responsive to my additional questions.
Please review the Auburn University Lab website
Since I am not familiar with titer tests, I had some lingering questions I posed to the Auburn University lab. Here are my questions and their answers:
Q: Is there a specific titer test collection kit that must be used?
A: Your Veterinarian needs to collect the blood sample, allow the blood adequate time for clot formation, centrifuge the blood, and collect the serum. Place the serum in a sterile, non-treated tube and label with the pet’s name and microchip #.
PLEASE SEND SERUM ONLY – WE DO NOT ACCEPT WHOLE BLOOD
Q: Are there any special instructions for sending the serum?
A: The Veterinarian must complete our “FAVN RABIES ANTIBODY TEST” form.
Make a few copies of this form once completed.
Place a copy of this form outside the package for the customs agents to keep.
Place the original form inside the package.
Label the outside of the package “Exempt Animal Specimen”.
Next, include the “CUSTOMS DECLARATION LETTER” from the Auburn University Lab.
Place a copy of this declaration letter outside the package for the customs agents to keep.
We understand that sending a sample from outside the US can take longer than the recommended 2 days in transit.
The antibody is fairly stable, so we just recommend you ship it the best available method for your area.
Include an ice pack if that is permitted. Your carrier (FedEx, UPS or DHL) should be able to provide additional guidance for sending a clinical sample.
Q: How long does it take to process the test?
Our turnaround time for the FAVN test is 4-5 weeks, which we keep up to date on our website.
Q: How do you provide a certificate showing that the dog is in good standing?
A: We send the final report via FAX and/or email to the submitting clinic.
Remember there is 4-5 week turnaround time.
The test fee is $75.00 USD
Q: Do you accept non-US credit cards or wire transfers for payment?
A: If you choose to send your sample to us, we will send payment details AFTER your sample arrives in the lab.
Please DO NOT make a payment prior to receiving payment details.
For payment questions, please email our Lab Coordinator
Dog Import PermitNot only will you need a titer test for your dog/cat, you will also need to apply for a Dog Import Permit. Be aware that the application processing time could take up to 2 months. Information on how to apply for the Dog Import Permit found here.
Approved CDC Airport to fly into from Guatemala:
Anchorage (ANC), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Honolulu (HNL), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), San Juan (SJU), Seattle (SEA), and Washington DC (IAD).