It was a rainy Tuesday in the Pacific Northwest when my husband called to tell me the glorious news: he had received orders for Hawaii, beautiful, sunny Hawaii! After shrieking with glee for about thirty seconds, I immediately began worrying about the logistics of getting my pets (my furry babies) to Hawaii. It is a daunting task; arming yourself with information and planning ahead as much as possible can help make the process less scary.
Hawaii is a rabies free state; and they intend to keep it that way. Years ago, when your dog or cat came to Hawaii, they sat in quarantine for 30 to 120 days. Luckily for military families, Hawaii now has the Five-Day-Or-Less Program.
In order to qualify for the program you must meet very specific requirements.
Failure to do so means you pet will have to go into quarantine.
Your pet must have a microchip. This must be done before the required blood test.
Your pet must have received two rabies vaccinations during their lifetime. The second vaccination must be given at least 30 days after the first vaccination and 90 days before the animal arrives in Hawaii.
You must have the ORIGINAL rabies certificates for two rabies vaccinations signed with colored ink.
Make sure that the signature is not in black ink! This is the only way you can prove to Hawaii that they are not photocopies. If you do not have the originals, the veterinarian who gave the vaccinations can re-issue these to you.
Your pet must then get a FAVN (Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization) blood test done. Basically, it is a test to see how much of the rabies vaccination is built up in your pet’s body. If you have access to a military veterinary treatment facility (VTF), I highly recommend you use them. Ours, here at Fort Lewis, is amazing. All I had to do was tell them we were Hawaii-bound, fill out a few forms and they took care of the rest. If you use a military VTF they will automatically send your test to Fort Sam Houston instead of Kansas State University (the OIE-FAVN testing facility for civilians). Fort Sam Houston is faster and cheaper than Kansas State. The cost charged by Fort Sam Houston is $55.00 per pet. You have two payment options: bring a money order or fill out a credit card authorization form. Your veterinarian will also charge you for drawing your pet’s blood and any shipping costs. The cost for us was $25.00 for the blood draw (per animal) and $25.00 for shipping.
It takes Fort Sam Houston about three weeks to complete the test. The results are then sent directly to Hawaii and a copy is sent to your veterinarian. Our veterinarian called us the day they got the results to let us know that our dogs passed! Yay!
Now, the waiting begins!
Your 120-day waiting period begins the day Fort Sam Houston accepted your test. This date will be on your copy of the results. You can also find the date by using Hawaii’s Microchip Search. You will need your pet’s microchip number to find your test results. You can also find out the date the test was accepted, the date your animal can enter Hawaii under the Five-Day-Or-Less Program and the date that your test will expire.
Of course things happen, orders come out of the blue and you don’t always have time to wait. If your pet does enter the state before the 120-day waiting period is over, they will have to stay in quarantine for the reminder of the 120 days. You will be charged $224.00 plus $14.30 for each day of quarantine. You can visit your animal on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays. There is also a complete care option, see page 20 of the Quarantine Information Brochure for more details.
The next step is to fill out the Dog & Cat Import form for each animal (Form AQS 278). Send this, along with the two original rabies certificates and any necessary fees (money order or cashier’s check) to Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Station. If Hawaii receives this at least ten days prior to your pet’s arrival, they will qualify for the Direct Airport Release Program. The direct airport release fee is $165.00 per pet. If Hawaii does not receive your forms in time, the fee is $224.00 per pet. You can pay in person when you pick your pet up, but this can delay the processing.
Okay, still with me? You are so close!
You have your flights booked, travel squared away and you and your pets are ready to fly to Hawaii! The final step is getting a health certificate for your pet. You need to visit your veterinarian within 14 days of your pet’s arrival (make sure to count travel days) to have your pet treated for ticks and obtain your health certificate. You can hand carry the original (no photocopies) with you to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility (AAQHF) when you pick up your pet. If you are able to qualify for the direct airport release and you want to pick them up the same day, your pet should arrive in Hawaii by 3:30pm. If they arrive at the AAQHF after 4:30pm, you will have to pick them up the next morning. As long as your pick your pet up before 10:00am, the fee is still $165.00 per pet. If you are not able to pick them up by 10:00am, the fee is $224.00 per pet.
On a final note, the DOD will reimburse each family up to $550.00 for mandatory quarantine fees. This is per family, not pet. Fill out DD 1351-2. Your Soldier / Sailor / Marine / Service Member can email the form to DFAS from his/her government email account, NOT a personal email. If you can’t send it from a government email, you can print off a copy, scan it as a PDF and email it from a personal email account. –Written By: E.C.
Pictured: Sadie & Scout
ResourcesHawaii Animal Quarantine Information Page “Hawaii Rabies Quarantine Information Brochure” “Checklist For 5-Day-Or-Less Program” “FAVN-OIE Requirements & Instructions”
A Huge Mahalo to E.C. for this amazing breakdown of the Quarantine Process! E.C. is a Army wife and mother, she is currently in the process of PCS’ing to the island from the Pacific Northwest. –Kapolea, 5/12/14