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Why are AHCs so stressful?

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Since AHCs were introduced in 2021, many vets have struggled with the process of completing them, and many of us feel stressed while doing so. We surveyed 269 vets in March 2022 and 77% reported feeling stressed when completing AHCs. More recently, in November 2022 at the London Vet Show, we repeated the survey and 50% reported that they felt stressed issuing AHCs. While that is an improvement on the previous result, AHCs are adding an extra layer of stress onto vets who - let’s be honest - have a stressful enough job as it is.

10 Reasons Vets Get Stressed Out When Issuing AHCs

  1. The EU has set very strict rules for pet travel and there are many potential pitfalls for pet owners who haven’t checked the requirements carefully. It’s always very disappointing for both the vet and pet owner to discover that an AHC cannot be issued (due to vaccine dates or other technical issues) and it’s often too late to resolve the problem before the planned trip
  2. Confusing format: The user interface is a 12-page PDF document in two languages. It is difficult to find the fields that need to be filled in, and even more difficult to spot any errors.
  3. Vets are busy so they don’t have a quiet hour to fill in and check a document. They are likely multitasking, which increases the chances of making mistakes.
  4. The AHC has to be wet-stamped and signed. This means that if there is an error discovered at the port, the issuing vet has no way of fixing it. The pet owner would have to find a local vet to re-issue the AHC which results in a costly delay. This is a very tricky situation for everyone involved.
  5. AHCs are bilingual and the vet needs to cross out options in both languages. This can be particularly difficult if another alphabet is involved, such as Bulgarian or Greek.
  6. The information that needs to be added doesn’t fit in the fields provided - many of the fields are far too small. 
  7. So many dates to check and comply with: The rabies vaccination needs to be done more than 21 days prior to the issuing of an AHC, which must be issued less than 10 days before travel. A tapeworm treatment (if required) needs to be administered 1-5 days before travel. 
  8. Is the rabies vaccine really valid? In order to be valid for an AHC the rabies vaccine needs to have been administered after the microchip was verified. This needs to be evidenced by a note in the clinical record or on the vaccination record. If neither is present an AHC will not be issued. Official vets (OVs) know this as it is in the OV training but not all vets that administer rabies vaccines are OVs so it is not always recorded correctly. 
  9. Seasonal demand: We see surges in demand for pet travel during school holidays. It is a challenge for vets to find the time to meet demand without compromising on other important jobs.  
  10. Changing plans: The AHC needs to be in the name of the person travelling with the pet and in the language of the EU port of entry. If plans change, it usually means redoing part or all of the AHC. 

What is the solution? 

Small animal vets are stuck with AHCs for the foreseeable future and they will continue to be stressful and time consuming unless we change how we do them. 

OVForm was developed to make the process as easy as possible and to pick up errors before they become a problem. 

OVForm fills in the document for you, resizes text to fit the space, crosses out the correct paragraphs (in both languages), checks all your dates and warns of potential errors. The best part is that it takes no time at all to generate an AHC using OVForm.

We are soon going to be adding a feature that enables the pet owner to fill in their own details on the form, saving you even more time!

Here’s what our users say after using OVForm:

"Revolutionised it! So much easier."
"OV forms has significantly reduced a lot of stress in our surgery!"
"It’s been a lifesaver!"

If AHCs are stressing you out, why not try our service at The first 5 AHCs are free so you can see all the benefits before you buy.