Got health papers? State and Federal rules regarding animal movement, travel, entry and show requirements, and international import and export can be complex and involve more than one government agency, but the goal is always the same – to ensure the health of animals in our state.
The Texas Animal Health Commission specifically regulates the entry of many livestock, poultry and exotic livestock species into the state and into interstate shows and exhibitions. In addition to those requirements, this page provides background info and contacts for other relevant state and federal regulatory authorities to help you get your animals moving no matter what their species or their destination.
Plan ahead, call ahead, and consult the State Animal Health Official and your veterinarian!
Interstate & Intrastate Movement
- Hurricane Notice - Equine Owners: On August 26, Governor Greg Abbott suspended portions of the TAHC rules that require negative equine infectious anemia (EIA or Coggins) test results in the last 12 months to board, stable or pasture equine at congregation points. The rules were suspended to facilitate the evacuation of equine and equine owners in advance of Hurricane Laura making landfall. This suspension is in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the 90th day following the suspension.
- Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has been confirmed other states. Texas has entry restrictions for all equine, bovine, porcine, caprine, ovine, or cervidae entering from states with VSV confirmations. Click on the links below for Texas entry requirements.
The following links summarize Texas entry requirements and requirements for moving animals within the state of Texas. Complete TAHC regulations may be found in the Texas Administrative Code (TAHC Rules).
To move animals or animal products from Texas into other states, contact the state of destination. A downloadable list of contact information for all 50 state animal health agencies may be found on the U.S. Animal Health Association website or on the USDA website.
Movement Requirements for Exhibition Animals
Animals entering livestock shows, fairs, and exhibitions in Texas must comply with TAHC's movement requirements. The resource to the left outlines the interstate and intrastate requirements for all species participating in such events.
It is important to note, fairs, livestock shows and exhibitions can add additional health requirements for animals attending their events. Check with the event organizer before you go. To learn more about shows and fairs in your area, please contact your local Agrilife Extension Agent.
International Export and Import
Exporting an animal from the US requires specific documentation and possible testing in advance, and may take weeks or months of preparation. You should begin by contacting a USDA accredited private veterinary practitioner to assist you in the process. Most licensed veterinarians are accredited, so start by discussing this with your personal veterinarian. You or your veterinary practitioner should then contact the USDA Veterinary Services (VS) office in Austin as early as possible to receive specific instructions and entry requirements for the country to which you wish to ship animals. Generally, an international health certificate is issued by a private local veterinarian and then sent to the USDA-VS office in Austin. All paperwork is subsequently approved by that office (you do not actually have to take your pet to the Austin office) and returned to the veterinarian.
For exporting animals and animal germplasm out of the United States from Texas, contact the USDA APHIS VS Texas export staff in Austin at email@example.com or (512) 383-2411 Monday – Friday 7:30am – 4pm. For exporting animal products out of the United States from Texas please contact USDA-VS at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 751-1701
Useful Export website links:
- USDA APHIS VS Import and Export or call (512) 383-2411
There are many different processes involved with importing species of live animals into the United States. U.S. import procedures are generally regulated by federal rules and agencies, rather than state entities. If you have any questions, or require further information related to imports of live animals, birds or germplasm, please contact National Center for Import and Export at email VS.Live.Animal.Import.Export@aphis.usda.gov or call (301) 851-3300 option 2.
Please make sure you have met all TAHC entry requirements for livestock. View the TAHC entry requirements by clicking on the appropriate species button. See also Dog & Cat link for more pet import info.
Useful Import Links:
- USDA-APHIS National Center for Import and Export or call (301) 851-3300 option 2
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) — CDC regulates the international importation of dogs, cats, bats, turtles, monkeys, civets, African rodents, and birds from certain countries.
- AVMA Resources
Miscellaneous Permits & Import/Export Links
The Department of State Health Services has requirements for keeping animals that are classified as dangerous animals in the state of Texas. This could include a dangerous dog, a lion, a tiger, an ocelot, a cougar, a leopard, a cheetah, a jaguar, a bobcat, a lynx, a serval, a caracal, a hyena, a bear, a coyote, a jackal, a baboon, a chimpanzee, an orangutan, a gorilla, or any hybrid of an animal listed.) For more information, see the DSHS website.
Texas Parks and Wildlife requires permits for the possession or rehabilitation of a variety of wild animal species in Texas including but not limited to: fur-bearing species (badger, beaver, all fox, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, otter, raccoon, ring-tailed cat, all skunks), raptors/falcons/birds of prey, certain turtles, and other fish and wildlife. For more information, visit the TPW website or call (512) 389-4800.
The U.S. Department of the Interior, Law Enforcement Division, Fish and Wildlife Services , has responsibility pertaining to the importation of reptiles, fish, and endangered species. For more information, visit the Fish and Wildlife Services website.