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UK pets at risk following sharp drop in vaccinations

Millions of pets in the UK are at risk of deadly diseases, warns PDSA. New findings from the vet charity reveal that the number of owners vaccinating their pets has declined steeply.

The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2017 surveyed over 63,000 people since 2011, to provide a robust insight into the welfare of UK pets.

The report found a significant decrease in the number of owners protecting their young dogs and cats with primary vaccination courses. The latest results show that just 75 percent of dogs (7.0 million) and 65 percent of cats (6.7 million) received a primary vaccination course when young.

These are the lowest levels ever recorded by the report and compares with 82 percent of dogs and 72 percent of cats in 2011. Furthermore, only 66 percent of owners (5.6 million cats, 7.3 million dogs, 500,000 rabbits) surveyed in 2017 have protected their pet with annual booster vaccinations.

Commenting on the findings, PDSA Head of Pet Health and Welfare, Nicola Martin, said: “The decreasing number of dogs, cats and rabbits receiving primary and booster vaccinations is a great concern for the health and welfare of the nation’s pets.

Vaccinations protect pets from infectious diseases, which can severely impact their health, and can often be fatal. Early immunisation can prevent a long list of diseases that can affect our companion animals.”

In response to the worrying increase of unvaccinated pets, PDSA is launching a campaign to help raise awareness and spread the word about preventable deadly diseases. PDSA will be encouraging pet owners to get their pets vaccinated and ensure their boosters are up-to-date.

PDSA is asking people to pledge their support at www.pdsa.org.uk/spreadtheword

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