The Long Dog vs Hawaii: the quarantine process

In March of 2012, J.O & I took a trip to Hawai`i to take a look at the job that he is now hired onto and squeeze in a vacation at the same time.  When we returned, we had decided that this was a job we wanted to be on.  We were ready to pack our bags for the long haul, buy our tickets and head on over to the state where we have so many memories (we were engaged there in 2007).  Then, we received the news that would but a hold on our new dream for the next 4 months: Hawai`is’ protocol on allowing animals to enter their state.

The islands are EXTREMELY strict on their standards for allowing animals from the mainland to enter for the main reason that the islands have never had a case of rabies or parasites. Pretty amazing if you ask me. Their system was first set up in 1912 when the disease was declared endemic in the State of California and it was feared that carnivorous animals imported from that state could transmit the disease to Hawai`i.  The 120 day program was first used in 1997.  Basically, this is a program that can be done either on the main land or in Hawai`i.  If it is done in Hawai`i then your animal has to be quarantined at the airport for a minimum of 120 or until the blood test are completed.  There was no way we were going to pay for the state to hold onto our dog (whom is basically our child) for 4 months.  When we discovered this, we decided look into this process as soon as possible so that we could get over to Hawai`i and not have the long dog be in a boarding house.   For any of you  looking at bringing your cat or dog into the state, I suggest you read on and get your first vet appointment scheduled right away.

The main thing that has to be done is a blood test called a OIE-FAVN rabies,  to determine if the animal has rabies or not.  But this is not the first thing that has to be done, it’s simply the main event, the most time consuming.   The results have to be dated for 120 days before your animal is eligible to for release from the quarantine.

So, we started off with this.  Luckily, living in California at the time, the vet knew what we were talking about.

There’s a laundry list of other things that needed to have been done, including:

  • Rabies Vaccinations: Two rabies vaccinations are required. The most recent rabies vaccination can not be expired when the animal arrives in Hawaii. Following the most recent rabies vaccination, animals must wait at least 90 days before arriving in Hawaii. If  you arrive before the 90 days has elapsed from the most recent rabies vaccination, the animal is subject to quarantine until 90 days are completed.  Oh, and you need the original, signed rabies certificate.  Luckily, all we had to do was make a phone call to our previous vets whom had administered the shots.
  • Microchip:  The Long dog had a microchip implanted when he was a pup, so that was cover too.
  • Hawaii must have all forms submitted at least 10 days before your arrival.
  • Payment for the program is made by cashiers check or money order only
  • A health certificate must be administered no more than 14 days before the animals arrival.
  • A vet must administer a de-worming and anti-tick/flea/parasite solution no more than 14 days before arrival.
  • I was in charge of booking his flight (yes, I had to book him a “ticket” for riding in the cargo section on my flight) and insuring I follow the airlines guidelines for his crate and such.

Whew! The only glitch in the entire process that we had, was working with so many different vets along the way.  Our paperwork was mailed to and from and our “situation” was explained so many times, I thought for a moment about making up a information card.

Most people would have said (and did say), ‘leave the dog on the mainland! IT’S HAWAII and HE’S A DOG!’  Ya, well, we aren’t like MOST people, are we? :)

All the work is now done. The papers are submitted, the checks have been cashed and the vet appointments are done.  The long dog and I board the plane this Friday for Hawaii (he’ll be nice an relaxed with his sedative the vet prescribed for him…lucky) and I have a feeling that he just may become a surfing hound once we get there:  his low center of gravity will be perfect for it!  I know all this time, money and waiting will have been worth it, because life just isn’t the same with out him :)  Oh, for the love of dogs :)


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