REDUCING time in quarantine for furry jet-setters will be one of the greatest benefits under consideration in a national review of import conditions for cats and dogs, a local veterinarian believes.
The review is the first carried out since 1993 and strives to ensure the policy and conditions of import are up to date.
Australia's chief veterinary officer, Dr Mark Schipp, said the main finding of the draft review is a recommendation that the minimum mandatory post-arrival quarantine period for dogs and cats be reduced from 30 to 10 days to address the risks of external parasites and associated vector-borne diseases.
The draft report highlighted that advances in science, particularly the efficacy of vaccines including against rabies, and the increased availability of advanced diagnostic technologies, support the case to review the import policy.
Dogs and cats can be kept in quarantine for up to 120 days, depending on the rabies status of the exporting country and the timing of pre-export preparation.
Port Macquarie Veterinary Hospital owner Dr Chris Livingston said if the minimum quarantine period is reduced, more pet owners will feel better about taking their four-legged family members overseas.
Dr Livingston said pets returning to our country can experience stress from being locked up for extended periods.
The occurrence of diseases such as rabies has significantly reduced in many countries due to scientific development, rendering unnecessary the lengthy time spent under surveillance for pets returning to Australia, Dr Livingston said.
South East Asia is an area of greatest concern for rabies contraction so pets travelling to these countries would have to be kept in quarantine for longer periods, he said.
Dr Schipp said the policy review focuses on exotic pest and disease risks, including those that have emerged since the current policy was implemented in 1995, and corresponding advances in science.
DAFF Biosecurity has issued the draft policy for comment until September 24.
After comments have been carefully considered and the review has been finalised, it will be provided to the Australian Government Director of Quarantine for final consideration before any change is implemented.