Leading vet charity PDSA is warning that thousands of dogs, cats and rabbits in the East Midlands could be at serious risk of deadly diseases after a shocking decline in the number of owners vaccinating their pets.
Figures show that just 71% of pets across our region were vaccinated when young.
The charity’s seventh PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, which monitors pet welfare issues across the UK, revealed that just 75% of dogs (7.0 million) and 65% of cats (6.7 million) received a primary vaccination course when young.
These are the lowest levels ever recorded by the report – a worrying decline from 82% of dogs and 72% of cats in 2011.
In addition, only 66% of owners (5.6 million cats, 7.3 million dogs, 500,000 rabbits) surveyed protect their pet with annual booster vaccinations, which are vital to ensure pets remain protected.
Commenting on the troubling new findings, PDSA Head of Pet Health and Welfare, Nicola Martin, said: “The decreasing number of dogs, cats and rabbits receiving 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. An initial vaccination course, and regular boosters help prevent diseases such as parvovirus, cat flu and myxomatosis.”
Of those surveyed, owners expressed ‘cost’ as one of the top reasons for not vaccinating their pet, with 20% of both dog and cat owners and 10% of rabbit owners giving ‘too expensive’ as their reason for not vaccinating.