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Top tips for getting AHCs done in under 30 minutes

AHCs can be an opportunity to turn new clients into happy regulars at your practice, and even attract new clients by offering a service that stands out.

Many practices have done away with Animal Health Certificates (AHCs) as they’re finicky and time-consuming, preferring to focus on the core veterinary work that we all love, but is this a missed opportunity to build on their relationships with some of their best customers?

Here are our top tips to flip the pain into gain and get AHCs done in under 30 minutes:

  • Read the Notes for Guidance, and make sure you're up to date with the current rules. 
    • Have a look through the training module and example on Improve OV. 
    • Print out an example AHC and write notes on it as a reference.
  • When the pet owner calls to book their appointment, send them a short form to fill in. 
    • This should include all details required on the AHC, plus scans or pictures of the rabies vaccination card. 
    • In addition, to prevent frustration later, get the pet owner to read a summary of the rules and sign that they understand the process. 
    • This makes it far more likely that the right person will turn up on the day with the correct documents.
  • Have a dedicated box with everything you need for AHCs – rulers, blue pens, stamp ink, the list of Certificate numbers, and anything else you find you’re using. 
    • When it's all close to hand, you’ll be amazed at the extra time you can save.
  • Prepare the AHC in advance to save time during the appointment. 
    • Think about whether there's a non-clinical member of your team who could assist with this. 
    • It’s a small task but it can lead to much greater efficiency and less time pressure at the appointment.
  • Use a digital service like OVForm to assist with form completion, date checking and cross-outs. You can also use the tick boxes on the APHA forms to cross out paragraphs. 
  • At the appointment: 
    • Run through the details again with the owner to confirm accuracy.  
    • Scan the pet's microchip and confirm it’s the same number on the form. 
    • Make sure the rabies vaccination is valid on the date you’re signing and that they will be reaching the EU within 10 days. 
    • Ask the owner or authorised person to sign the written declaration
  • Check each page methodically from top to bottom, with attention to details and dates: 
    • Is the information in supporting evidence the same as on the form? 
    • Is the microchip number the same throughout the document (it appears 3-4 times)?
  • Stamp and sign every page and alteration once you’re satisfied that it is all correct.
  • Make yourself a cuppa, you deserve it!

OVForm is here to save time, improve accuracy and make AHCs super simple! For more information visit or email [email protected]