We love our pets – but we don’t always show our love by taking care of our pets’ needs.
New figures on vaccination published by the PDSA back up research carried out on behalf of the National Office of Animal Health – while the UK is full of devoted pet lovers, half of us forget about one of the best ways we can help our pet, vaccinating them against preventable infectious diseases.
That’s why we’ve created an infographic* to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinating pets against infection diseases. (And to illustrate some of our weird and wonderful pet obsessions!)
The PDSA says: “More than 11 million pets could die prematurely in the next decade from devastating preventable illnesses such as parvovirus, feline leukaemia and certain forms of cancer because their owners are failing to vaccinate or neuter them.”
Yet these are the same pets that we talk to, sing to and dance with – that 33% of owners would sleep next to if they were ill, and 40% would risk their own lives to save.
NOAH agrees with PDSA Senior Vet Sean Wensley that ‘Love by itself is not enough’
NOAH itself had commissioned two detailed surveys which compared the attitudes of those pet owners who did routinely prevent disease (preventers) with those who did not (non-preventers). Attitudes to vaccination did not change between the 2007 and 2010 surveys, with preventers believing that being a responsible pet owner means regularly vaccinating your pet, while non-preventers just did not believe vaccination was relevant to their situation. This pointed to a clear need to educate non-preventers to break habits that have sometimes been handed down from generation to generation.
“Perhaps to some extent vaccination has been a victim of its own success, with many owners not seeing the infectious diseases that vaccines prevent in their pets or the pets of their friends,” comments NOAH technical executive and veterinary surgeon Donal Murphy.
“Yet once the level of vaccination in the population drops, the disease incidence starts to rise’’.
“Killer diseases have not gone away. They have only been kept in check by responsible pet owners who maintain their animal’s vaccination programmes.
“The cat belonging to the new family in the street, or the stray dog in the park, may be harbouring disease, which can attack when a pet is not fully protected. Unvaccinated pets are vulnerable to devastating – and sometimes incurable – disease,” he says.
NOAH’s research showed that pet owners, particularly non-preventers, frequently turn to the internet for advice on their pets. NOAH’s Pet Health Information website www.pethealthinfo.org.uk helps provide a one-stop source of information.
*Stats on our pet obsessions taken from research carried out on behalf of NOAH by Opinion Matters among 1,094 small pet owners over the age of 18 living in the UK between 30 July and 08 August 2012