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Vaccination decline a ‘ticking time bomb’
6th September 2019

By Karen Pickwick

Latest research findings from vet charity PDSA reveal a record decline in the number of pets being vaccinated, leaving millions of companion animals unprotected and exposed to potentially fatal diseases.

The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report has monitored pet welfare issues across the UK for the last nine years, surveying more than 73,500 people in this time.

Produced in conjunction with YouGov, the PAW Report provides an insight into the lives of pet dogs, cats and rabbits across the UK. The research found the number of these pets receiving their primary vaccinations had dropped dramatically from 84% in 2016 to 66% in 2019, a decrease of 18 percentage points in just three years.

Findings from the 2019 PAW Report, also show that one third (32%) of pets aren’t receiving regular booster vaccines.

Of those owners who hadn’t vaccinated their pet, 17% said that they deemed it ‘too expensive’ and an additional 17% said their pet didn’t come into contact with other animals. Other explanations included 16% who felt it was ‘unnecessary’, while 13% of owners said their pet found going to the vets ‘very stressful’.

The findings coincide with growing hesitancy towards vaccinations in children, renewing One Health concerns that an ‘anti-vax’ phenomenon – scepticism towards the safety and efficacy of vaccines – could be directed towards pets as well as children. Falling vaccination rates has been cited by the World Health Organisation as one of the top 10 threats to global health.