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Taking A Pet Out of Panama

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Taking A Pet (Cat or Dog) Out of Panama
(Version 1.2, Re-published January 28, 2019 with updated information regarding United Airlines.)


What follows are the steps for taking pets out of Panama. In the context of this topic, the word pet only means a cat or a dog, and not birds, equine, reptiles, exotic, or controlled animals, etc. The term used for the procedure of taking a pet out of Panama is 'to export.'

The export information provided here was compiled by Jeff Simon (former Boquete resident) and Judy Sacco based on their research and experiences. Judy provides this information to others who inquire of the export process. Judy has graciously agreed to let this information be published here in CL for the general benefit of pet owners wishing to export their pet from Panama.

If you have questions about exporting a pet, you may post a reply here (assuming you are a CL member). Alternatively, Judy is a member of CL; you may contact her via private message to 'JudyS'.

Portions of this posting were extracted from http://steptolife.blogspot.com/2008/08/taking-animal-out-of-panama.html.

Are you making a trip to the United States or some other country and planning to take your pet? Panama requires that you complete certain procedures and get an Export Permit (read more about this below). These documents must be dated within ten days of your departure. In other words, if you get them one month before your departure they will not be valid.

Your destination country and your state may have their own requirements. It is best to check your destination country and/or state requirements before you leave Panama. Panama requires both cats and dogs to have a General Health Certificate for the export process to be approved.

If you have information changes that you believe should be included herein, please send your suggestions via email to petvet@chiriqui.life.

The preferred method to share this information with others is to provide a URL hotlink for this topic. We request that references to this resource listing include attribution as to source, specifically meaning the Chiriqui.Life website. The URL hotlink for this resource listing is:

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is simply information and a listing of resources. CL does not endorse, make recommendations, or screen the resources listed. It is suggested that you do your own due-diligence prior to engaging any of these resources.


Documents You Will Need For Your Pet

To satisfy Panama's export requirements you need two documents from a veterinarian in Panama:

  1. Vaccination Card showing that all vaccinations are up to date, specifically including rabies. The rabies vaccination must be done at least thirty (30) days before departure.
  2. General Certificate of Health, filled out in English and Spanish.


Vets and Others Who Can Help You Get the Proper Forms

  • Dra. Chely in Boquete, 6518-4127
  • Dr. Crespo, 6480-7273
  • Dr. Samuel Candanedo ("Dr. Sam"), Happy Pet Veterinary Clinic David, 775-0501 or 6948-1475 or happypetdavid@hotmail.com. Call ahead for an appointment. His hours are: Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 6:00pm; Saturday, 9:00am to 3:00pm. He speaks English. His wife Patricia is also a vet.
  • Also see the Pet Relocation Services section at the end of this posting.

The above resources will make sure the paperwork gets to the right place and back to you. Allow a two-week time period to do this.

Working With the Airlines Going to the USA

Airlines have their own requirements, separate from those of Panama. Before traveling, contact the airline and find out what you need. Airline requirements can change, so be sure you have current information.

Copa Airlines

A cat, when under 20 lbs, can travel from David to Tocumen in the cabin on Copa Airlines if the cage fits under the seat. However, Copa only transports pets Monday through Thursday. COPA will only take pets in the cabin that fit under the seat; larger pets have to go as cargo.

United Airlines

If you are flying United Airlines and your cat is flying in cargo, make a reservation: Call: Eidy M. Gutierrez, Customer Sales Support at United, 238-4657 or 238-4411, Fax: 238-4585, email eidy.gutierrez@united.com. Eidy speaks English. She will handle your pet reservation and email you forms to fill out in advance. She will send you a Word document called: "Live Animal Booking Request". Fill it out and email or fax it back to her. Then she can proceed to make your pet's reservation.

You probably should also read information about United Airlines in the topic regarding pet importation. Click Here for that topic. (This paragraph was added on January 28, 2019.)

Copa and United Airlines

To read all about transporting your pet via United Airlines or Copa Airlines, go on-line and carefully read all the info posted. Google “United Airlines Pet Travel” and it is recommended that you read everything very carefully. There are a lot of details regarding the size of kennel needed, etc. Key Point: do not tranquilize your pet. If you do, United will not ship the pet.

Pets fly in the cabin or as cargo on United or COPA. These airlines no longer accept them as checked baggage.

Delta Airlines

Delta will fly pets in cabin, as checked baggage, and as cargo. Checked baggage is cheaper than cargo. If you want to take them in the cabin, you must make a reservation for your pet, as only two animals are allowed in coach per flight, and they must be small enough to fit under the seat. You can take only one animal per passenger in the cabin.

Air Panama, or Land Transportation between Chiriquí Province and Panama City

Air Panama will take pets, or you can hire a driver for land transportation between Chiriquí Province and Panama City. Air Panama will only take pets in the cabin that fit under the seat; larger pets have to go as cargo. Call Air Panama to find out if small pets can go in the cabin; it depends on the size of the plane.


Update as of January 2015 - Includes Requirements for Europe

Dra. Chely in Boquete can do this too.

The following are instructions if you go to the offices of Dr. Samuel Candanedo ("Dr. Sam") at Happy Pet Clinic in David, Doleguita (Calle 6a Oeste, between Cl. M Norte and Cl. L Norte). He speaks fluent English. His wife is a vet too (Patricia). It is easy to find as there is a big sign in front of the clinic. Hours are Monday to Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday 9:00am to 3:00pm. Dr. Samuel Candanedo, Happy Pet Veterinary Clinic, 775-0501 or 6948-1475, email happypetdavid@hotmail.com.

The cat or dog will need to get a rabies vaccination. This vaccination must be within 12 months of the day of transport but the pet cannot fly to the U.S. until thirty (30) days after he/she has the rabies vaccination, so don't wait until the last minute to do this.

In the case of a cat traveling to EU countries, there must be a FAVN (Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization) titer test for the level of rabies antibodies. This test must be done at least ninety (90) days before the pet can travel to Europe. The only approved laboratory for this test near Panama is at the University of Kansas Rabies Laboratory (http://www.ksvdl.org/rabies-laboratory/).

Pets must be micro-chipped to enter EU countries.

For pets destined for the USA: four to six days before the pet is scheduled to depart Panama (and early in the morning), go back to Dr. Sam. He will examine the pet and complete a Health Certificate, which must be in English and Spanish. Dr. Sam then takes the Health Certificate and the pet's Vaccination Card to a local office in David and within 24 hours has your Export Permit. (If destined for Europe, there is a special health certificate required.)

For example, assume that you see Dr. Sam at 9:00am on Monday, then you should return at 9:00am on Tuesday and he will have your Export Permit and you are good to go! You are now ready to transport the pet to the U.S.


Pet Relocation Services
[copied from the Pet Care Resource topic; see http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/2354-pet-care-resources-of-the-chiriqui-province/]

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  • 1 year later...
1 hour ago, Bonnie said:

Not nearly as expensive as it will be if something is screwed up. Contact the various providers for quotes, and then make your decision.

Bonnie nailed it. If something screws up, and it can, as rules/things change all the time.  If you do it on your own and you have a glitch what is your back up plan?

If you love  your pets enough to bring them with you, the help/assistance of a pet relocator is worth it, for the peace of mind.

Edited by TwoSailors
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