Export Live Animals to Canada

Last Modified: June 06, 2024

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For Accredited Veterinarians: Electronic signature ACCEPTED

For APHIS VMO: Digital endorsement for SOME COMMODITIES ONLY

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USDA-accredited veterinarians can submit health certificates for electronic signature through VEHCS (Veterinary Export Health Certification System).

Summary of Requirements

For terrestrial animals to Canada, USDA-accredited veterinarians may issue health certificates electronically through VEHCS. These certificates will be digitally endorsed by APHIS once received in the system and available for printing by the USDA-accredited veterinarian once the endorsement is completed by APHIS. An APHIS-endorsed, printed paper copy must accompany the shipment.

For aquaculture/aquatic animals to Canada, health certificates may be submitted by the USDA- accredited veterinarian through VEHCS; however, the APHIS veterinary medical officer's ink (wet) signature with the application of the APHIS embossed seal must appear on the health certificate. To accomplish this, aquatic certificates received by APHIS through the VEHCS system will be printed and endorsed in our offices, and the hard copy will be returned when complete. This APHIS-endorsed paper copy must accompany the shipment. 

USDA Health Certificate options:

Note: When submitting certificates for live horses (non-slaughter) to Canada through VEHCS, please select the intended use of breeding/rearing OR competition/racing. The breeding/rearing option includes all horses traveling as personal pets, for recreation, etc., regardless of intention for use as a breeding animal. 

Note: There are only two classifications of U.S. origin live horses destined for Canada:

Breeding/Rearing/Competition/Racing

This option includes all horses entering Canada for purposes other than slaughter. All horses traveling as personal pets, for recreation, etc. are included in this option, regardless of intention for use as a breeding animal.

Slaughter

Other Equine Certificates

Germplasm

Feeder

Breeding

Note: Prior to export movement, lactating dairy cattle are required to receive a negative test for influenza A virus at an approved National Animal Health Laboratory Network laboratory. The negative testing of milk or mammary samples via PCR  must be documented on the required addendum posted below.

Note: The brucellosis screening test for breeding cattle to Canada is the FPA or BAPA. Any animal with a non-negative test result on the FPA or BAPA is not eligible for export to Canada, irrespective of the results of any confirmatory test that is subsequently performed. To clear the rest of the cohort for export: the animal with the non-negative result must have a negative result to a cELISA or iELISA test. The cELISA is not available in the United States. Therefore, the iELISA test must be done, which is only available at NVSL.

  • Bovine including Bison - Breeding - Protocol and Health Certificate - August 2020    
    • Bovine-lactating dairy cattle-Addendum Influenza A testing - April 2024
      • Note: In VEHCS, the current defined certificate for breeding cattle to Canada does not include this addendum and therefore cannot be used for lactating dairy cattle. Instead, when creating the certificate in VEHCS for lactating dairy cattle to Canada, please select “commodity not listed” and upload the breeding cattle health certificate and the influenza A addendum as a PDF upload. 
    • Bovine - Requirements of Returning Canadian Origin Cattle to Canada for Breeding - Guidance Document 
    • Bovine - Breeding - Addendum (if needed) - August 2020
    • Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) Guidance for Rodeo Cattle - August 2020
      • Note: Any animal with a non-negative result on the Caudal Fold Tuberculin (CFT) Test is not eligible for export to Canada, irrespective of the results of any confirmatory / ancillary test that is performed. The cohort animals are eligible for export subject to the following:
        • To clear the cohort animals for export, a Comparative Cervical Tuberculin (CCT) Test must be done on the non-negative animal. If the CCT Test is negative, then the cohort animals are eligible for export providing the CFT Tests of all the cohort animals are negative.
        • In the case of rodeo/roping type breeds, both the CFT Test and the Interferon Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) test in the cohort animals must be negative. The CFIA does not recognize the IGRA test as a confirmatory test to be performed subsequent to a non-negative CFT Test. Only the CCT Test is considered a confirmatory test to the CFT Test.

Slaughter

Note: For Brucellosis, any animal with a non-negative test result on the Florescence Polarization Assay (FPA) is not eligible for export to Canada, irrespective of the results of any confirmatory test that is subsequently performed. The cohort animals are eligible for export, subject to negative results on confirmatory testing by indirect ELISA (i-ELISA), conducted on the animals testing non-negative.

Note: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) prohibits the movement of live poultry and hatching eggs which originate from, or transit through trade restriction zones established due to detections of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in poultry.

Exporters are advised to plan transit routes in advance of travel to avoid transit through restricted zones or otherwise risk delays or rejection of shipments.

Exporters MUST provide documentation to demonstrate the route of travel to Canadian border/port officials. This documentation must accompany the health certificate but is NOT endorsed by APHIS. The documentation must include:

  • a map of the intended route of transit
  • a statement attesting that the consignment has not traveled a route that transited any control zone for HPAI. Example: [Insert Commodity Type, e.g. Hatching eggs] covered by certificate(s) [Insert health certificate number] will travel in a closed conveyance via the following route. To the best of my knowledge, this route does not transit any restriction areas established due to detections of High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (HPAI) in poultry.
  • commodity being exported and certificate numbers associated with the shipment
  • signature of the accredited veterinarian and date of signature

For industry members needing to evaluate routes and generate maps, the Veterinary Services Trade Route Mapping Tool has been developed to support these processes. Follow the steps in the document entitled "Veterinary Services Trade Route Mapping Tool Access Guide" below to access the Trade Route Mapping Tool.

Veterinary Services Trade Route Mapping Tool Access Guide (539.44 KB) -  June 2024

Taking a Pet to Another Country?

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Export Restrictions for New Mexico, California, Florida, and Texas

Note: Effective December 2019, Canada has placed a ban on all shipments of whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) from the state of New Mexico which are susceptible to Infectious Hypodermal and Haematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHHNV).

Note: Effective November 2019, Canada has placed a ban on all shipments of whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) from the state of California which are susceptible to Infectious Hypodermal and Haematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHHNV).

Note: Effective June 2019, Canada has placed a ban on all shipments of live crustaceans from the states of Florida and Texas which are susceptible to Infectious Hypodermal and Haematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHHNV).  This includes, but is not limited to: blue shrimp (Litopenaeus stylirostris), brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus), brown tiger prawn (Penaeus esculentus), giant tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon), greasyback shrimp (Metapenaeus ensis), northern white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus), whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), and yellowleg shrimp (Farfantepenaeus californiensis).  To verify if crustaceans originating from Florida and Texas are susceptible to IHHNV, and are impacted by this ban, please check CFIA regulated species and the diseases they are susceptible to.

Guidance Documents

How to Meet the Requirements for Export of Aquatic Animals from the United States to Canada (349.54 KB)

Disease and Testing Information:

Aquatic Animals and Germplasm - Culture

Aquatic Animals and Germplasm - Research and Education

Aquatic Animals Intended for Zoo/Aquarium

Aquatic Animals Intended for Food Service, Retail, or Further Processing

Finfish

Koi Carp

Note: Instructions for Koi Health Certificate (120.28 KB) - March 2019

Note: Testing Information for Koi Health Certificate (140.83 KB) - March 2019

Ornamental Aquatic Animals

Note: The health certificate for the export of Commercial Dogs intended for Breeding/Show/Exhibition must be signed/endorsed by a USDA accredited veterinarian and an APHIS Veterinary Services Veterinarian.

Note: The health certificate for the export of Commercial Dogs intended for Resale/Adoption must be signed by a USDA accredited veterinarian. Endorsement by APHIS Veterinary Services is not required. Please consult APHIS Animal Care for any questions regarding licensing and/or movement of these animals.

Taking a Pet to Another Country?

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If your species is not listed, the requirements for that species are not known. Exporters who want to ship livestock or germplasm whose requirements are not listed above should have the importer or buyer in the destination country apply for an import permit at the appropriate ministry. This import permit will most likely outline the specific requirements.

Need Help?

USDA-Accredited Veterinarians

Contact a USDA-accredited veterinarian for questions about your destination country's entry requirements for animals (including any needed vaccinations, tests, or treatments) and for issuance of health certificates.

Find a USDA-Accredited Veterinarian

USDA Endorsement Offices

Contact your nearest APHIS Veterinary Export Trade Services Endorsement Office for questions about endorsing an export health certificate for live animals.