Latest Homes – National Vaccination Month – 25th March 2008

Most of you will have worked out by now that I’m passionate about promoting responsible pet ownership and client-education. As well as microchipping, and treating your pets for common parasites such as fleas and worms, vaccination and preventative medicine is another topic close to my heart.

It still amazes me the number of owners out there that lavish affection and presents on their beloved pets, but choose not take adequate steps to protect them from preventable killer diseases.

When did expensive doggy-Christmas presents, diamond-studded collars or even hoodies with ‘hilarious’ slogans printed on them become more important than a yearly jab that rules out the alarming risk of killer disease to our nation’s pets?

Surely the ultimate gift for such an important member of your family is life; so why exactly are 3 million dogs, 6 million cats and 1.8 million rabbits still unvaccinated, leaving them at risk of a range of fatal diseases, many of which are not only untreatable, but also incredibly painful too?

Any vet will tell you how devastating and needles these infectious diseases can be – over the years I’ve treated and helped nurse unvaccinated puppies while they slowly deteriorate and die from parvovirus. Endless uncontrollable vomiting, diarrhoea, blood loss and misery. It’s horrific.

Thankfully vaccination has reduced the incidence of disease from levels last seen in the early 80s, but complacency threatens to allow these threats a dangerous new foothold.

Recent research has revealed that nearly two thirds of all vet practices have seen this killer dog disease, parvovirus, in the past year, while almost half have seen leptospirosis, which is spread by rats. Worryingly, leptospirosis could also potentially be passed on from dogs to people in the form of Weil’s disease. 

As well as the risk posed to dogs by the reported rise in the rat population, ongoing mild weather conditions continue to put rabbits at risk of myxomatosis. This fatal disease is spread by biting insects, e.g. fleas, which were particularly prevalent last autumn, due to the summer flooding.

Cats also need double protection from deadly viral feline leukaemia as well as the potentially fatal cat flu. Sadly, many pet owners simply don’t realise or admit that their pets are at risk of disease so now’s the time to act responsibly.

If you’re a responsible pet owner and you vaccinate your pet regularly then please keep up the good work. If not, well it’s National Microchipping Month this month, so why not celebrate in style by giving your pet the ultimate gift – a prolonged happy and healthy life. There’s really no excuse not to.

For more information, call your vet or visit www.vaccinationmonth.co.uk

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