Protect your pet from preventable diseases
Millions of pets at risk of fatal illnesses
For most owners their pet is a best friend and an important member of the family. Yet across the UK, millions of adored pets* are at risk from potentially life-threatening diseases – simply because their owners have not had them vaccinated.
From parvovirus in dogs, to leukaemia in cats and myxomatosis in rabbits – we can help prevent each one by ensuring our pets are vaccinated.
As well as the direct health implications of not protecting a pet against preventable diseases, owners that do not keep up-to-date with vaccinations may find their pet insurance policies are invalidated. Reputable holiday boarding kennels also ask to see evidence of up-to-date vaccinations.
“Vaccination is a vital part of responsible pet ownership,” says PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Elaine Pendlebury. “Many pet owners are unsure about why and when they should vaccinate their pet, meaning vets up and down the country are treating many pets suffering from illnesses that vaccinations could have prevented. It is heart-breaking for owners, who in many cases simply didn’t realise the dangers facing their unvaccinated pets.
“Some pets are carriers of these diseases, showing no symptoms themselves, but carrying the risk of infecting other pets. Additionally, a disease like leptospirosis, can affect people and some of the infectious agents are very hardy and difficult to get rid of.”
Vaccinations work by introducing a harmless form of a disease into the pet’s body. This causes the natural defence system to remember the disease and how to overcome it. Puppies and kittens are usually vaccinated before they mix with any other animals, but your vet will advise you about this. It is essential for their normal development that they are allowed to socialise with other animals while they are very young, so they should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Elaine adds: “Puppies and kittens can often be vaccinated when they are about six-weeks-old, followed up with a second injection between two and four weeks later. Timings do vary slightly between species and circumstances, but your vet will advise you on the best timings for your pet.
“Booster vaccinations are also needed, often every year depending on the vaccine, because the body’s immune response gradually fades over time. Also, with summer almost upon us, if you’re planning to take your pet abroad you may need to arrange additional vaccinations, such as rabies – ask your vet for further advice.”
To find out more about vaccinations, download a free copy of PDSA’s leaflet, which offers advice and guidance on protecting pets from preventable diseases, from www.pdsa.org.uk/leaflets.