More than 600 pets from Ukraine have arrived in Ireland with their owners since the Russian invasion on 24 February.

Ireland and other EU countries have waived normal biosecurity and pet travel requirements in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

News footage since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine has frequently featured fleeing families, with their pets in tow.

Recognising the importance of family pets during the trauma the war has brought, the European Commission permitted normal strict rules on pet movements to be loosened to allow for pet travel.

Ireland is one of the countries to adapts the rules and around 618 dogs and cats have so far arrived with their owners. In addition, a number of smaller household pets have also arrived.

The Department of Agriculture is taking the lead on processing these animals and bringing them into compliance with required health and biosecurity standards once they arrive in Irish ports.

That begins with micro-chipping and vaccination against rabies for dogs and cats and treatment for tapeworm.

The pets are then required to enter home quarantine. Owners receive instructions from the department on what they need to do to ensure compliance.

Blood tests for rabies antibodies are being carried out 30 days after vaccination, but quarantine must continue for three months.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said Ireland will continue with this open-door policy to Ukrainian refugees and their pets.

"Pets play a huge role in the lives of so many people. They are friends and companions and I was keen to ensure pets could travel with their owners," he said.

"That is why we have taken a leadership role in allowing those arriving here to bring their pets once they follow a few simple steps to reduce the risk of any disease coming into Ireland."

The department has also issued a circular to vets, informing them of the treatment needs for Ukrainian pets, in order to bring them into compliance with the EU pet travel arrangements.

There is no charge to refugees for those treatments.