UK vet charity, the PDSA, has warned that millions of family pets are at risk from killer diseases because they have not received vaccinations.
The latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report found that over 5 million dogs, cats and rabbits have not been vaccinated with a primary course.
Vets said that preventable diseases such as such as parvovirus, leptospirosis and feline leukaemia can cause widespread deaths. Diseases prevalent in wild animal populations, such as myxomatosis in rabbits, can also spread to pets.
PDSA also reports that 33 percent of pets aren’t receiving regular booster vaccinations. This is leaving them exposed to deadly bacteria and viruses as well as reducing the effect of ‘herd immunity’.
PDSA vet Vicki Larkham-Jones said that: “As a vet there is nothing more heart-breaking than seeing an animal lose its life to a disease that could have been prevented.
“Many pet owners don’t realise the dangers of diseases like parvovirus until it’s too late. It’s a severe viral infection which is highly contagious and commonly leads to septicaemia and death in dogs.
“Our research found that nearly a quarter of pet owners that haven’t vaccinated their pets think vaccination is unnecessary. The figure among rabbit owners that don’t vaccinate is even higher, with one-in-three citing this reason for not vaccinating. This is obviously very concerning and shows we need to raise awareness of how essential vaccinations and regular boosters are.
Vet teams at PDSA are using funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery to try to encourage pet owners to get their pets vaccinated and ensure their boosters are up to date. PDSA aims to vaccinate over 60,000 pets this year through its network of 51 Pet Hospitals.