Leading vet charity PDSA has warned that millions of UK dogs, cats and rabbits are at serious risk of deadly diseases as the number of owners vaccinating their pets has declined steeply.
The charity’s seventh annual Animal Wellbeing Report reveals 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 per cent of dogs (seven million) and 65 per cent of cats (6.7m) received a primary vaccination course when young.
Nicola Martin, PDSA’s head of Pet Health and Welfare, said these are the lowest levels recorded by the Report and compares with 82 per cent of dogs and 72 per cent of cats in 2011.
“Furthermore, only 66 per cent of owners (5.6m cats, 7.3m dogs, 500,000 rabbits) surveyed in 2017 have protected their pet with annual booster vaccinations,” Ms Martin added.
The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) said it shares the PDSA’s concerns.
BSAVA president John Chitty said: “The current vaccination levels in dogs, cats and rabbits are far below the levels expected to provide a ‘herd immunity effect’, with the consequence that significant reductions in these diseases are further away, and those pets not vaccinated are at even greater risk.”