Preventable diseases such as parvovirus, leptospirosis and feline leukemia can cause widespread deaths, say vets. Diseases prevalent in wild animal populations, such as myxomatosis in rabbits, can also spread to their domestic counterparts, usually with fatal consequences.
The latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report found that 6 million dogs, cats and rabbits are unvaccinated, leaving them unprotected against dangerous illnesses which can take hold suddenly.
PDSA Vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan explained: “Vets continue to see cases of preventable illnesses like parvovirus but one case is too many. It’s vital for pets to receive protection against these potentially deadly diseases. To protect our pets, all that’s needed is a simple vaccination to ensure they are not at risk.
“Vaccinations work by introducing harmless versions of each disease into the body, allowing the immune system to recognise the disease and work out how to fight it.”
PDSA’s PAW Report has also found decreasing numbers of dogs, cats and rabbits receiving a primary vaccination course when young, which is a great concern for the health and welfare of the nation’s pets.
Dogs are usually vaccinated at eight weeks old, cats at nine weeks and rabbits from around five weeks of age. This is called their ‘primary vaccination course’. They will usually need two injections a few weeks apart before they’re fully protected and are able to safely mix with other pets. Young pets are at a much higher risk of catching diseases and, if they do get ill, it can quickly become serious. Even if they are lucky and recover, some of these diseases can cause lifelong health issues.
Pets also need regular booster injections throughout their life to maintain their protection. Some boosters are needed every year, others less often and in very high risk areas, some vaccines may need to be given even more frequently than every year. Your vet is the best person to speak to about your pet’s vaccination plan. Many insurance companies and boarding kennels require pets’ vaccinations to be up-to-date in order to use their services.
PDSA is helping to ensure that pets are vaccinated and protected from preventable disease. For the original article and more information about the importance of vaccinations visitwww.pdsa.org.uk/vaccinations
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