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Pet owners warned not to ignore vaccinations

Thursday May 12th 2016

Millions of rabbits, cats and dogs are in danger from lethal diseases because their owners are not getting them vaccinated, according to the PDSA.

The leading veterinary charity warns that this is leaving them susceptible to feline leukaemia, leptospirosis, parvovirus and other preventable diseases. It finds that 33% of domestic pets do not get frequent booster vaccinations, making them vulnerable to killer viruses and bacteria.

Over 5 million rabbits, cats and dogs have yet to have any primary course jabs, the charity's PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report shows. Perhaps most worrying of all, almost one in four pet owners who do not get their animals vaccinated believe the jabs are unnecessary.

Vicki Larkham-Jones, a PDSA pet, calls the oversight by owners "heartbreaking" when it leads to a preventable death. She says several owners only wake up to the risks of parvovirus - for which no cure has yet been found - and similar diseases after they have taken a fatal hold.

This aggressive, highly contagious viral infection regularly results in dog septicaemia, she says. Rabbit myxomatosis and other common diseases found among animal populations can spread to domestic equivalents, the PDSA adds.

Copyright Press Association 2016