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Drop in vaccinations for UK pets

Cat and dog playing together in grass

Last week, the PDSA released their annual Animal Wellbeing Report (PAW) which shows a concerning decline in the amount of pet owners getting their pets vaccinated.

This year’s report shows that just 75% of dogs and 65% of cats received a primary vaccination course when young. This course sets up your pet’s immune system to allow it to recognize diseases and protect the body against them. These percentages are the lowest ever recorded by the PAW Report and compares with 82% of dogs / 72% of cats in 2011.

Only 66% of pet owners (7.3 million dogs, 5.6 million cats and 500,000 rabbits) surveyed this year have provided their pet with annual booster vaccinations. 20% of dog and cat owners said their reason for not vaccinating was that it was ‘too expensive’.

Nicola Martin, Head of Pet Health & Welfare at PDSA 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.”

“While the latest PAW Report confirms that many of us get pets for the companionship and love they bring to our lives, it also highlights many owners continue to misjudge the costs involved in owning a pet. Despite potential lifetime costs of dog ownership easily rising to £21,000, the Report revealed 98% of dog owners surveyed estimated that their dog would cost less than this over the dog’s lifetime. This shows that the veterinary profession and animal welfare organisations need to do more to raise awareness of the financial reality of pet ownership – including preventive care and veterinary treatment – before owners take on a pet.”