Although the impact of coronavirus and lockdown has transformed so many aspects of our lives, our pets still require as much love and care they always have. And with veterinary practices across the country now having to prioritise emergency cases, you might be concerned that your pet is missing out on routine appointments, as well as their vital vaccinations.
PDSA Vet Nurse, Joanne Wright, said: “Like many other essential services, PDSA and other veterinary practices across the country have been hugely affected by coronavirus, and can now only offer urgent and essential care. This means many routine treatments such as vaccinations may well be cancelled until after the crisis is over.”
During this period, leading vet charity PDSA is offering advice on how to keep your four-legged friends safe if a pet’s vaccinations aren’t available.
What should I do if my puppy misses a vaccination?
Your puppy won’t be protected from diseases normally vaccinated against until they have had their full primary vaccination course. They will be at risk of catching diseases such as Parvovirus, Distemper, Kennel cough, Hepatitis and Leptospirosis. Until your puppy has been vaccinated you should:
- Keep them away from unvaccinated dogs
- It is okay to take them out in your arms, but keep them off the ground anywhere other than your home and garden.
What should I do if my adult dog misses a vaccination?
If your adult dog misses a vaccine, they will be at a slightly higher risk of catching the diseases they are normally protected against. Fortunately, for most, this won’t be a major problem because they are likely to have some protection covering them for a few months after the date their booster is due. If your dog misses a booster, you should keep them away from:
- Other unvaccinated dogs
- Areas that lots of other dogs visit
- Farms, cows, stagnant water and areas rats might live (because there is a higher than usual Leptospirosis risk).
What should I do if my kitten misses a vaccination?
Your kitten won’t be protected from the diseases we normally vaccinate against, such as cat flu, feline parvovirus and Feline Leukaemia Virus, until they have had a full vaccination course. Until then you should:
- Keep them inside your home.
- Avoid bringing any new cats into the household.
What should I do if my adult cat misses a vaccination?
If your adult cat has missed a vaccine booster, they will be at a slightly higher risk of catching the diseases they are normally protected against. Fortunately, most cats have some protection covering them for approximately three months after the date their vaccine is due.
- If you have a house cat, continue to keep them indoors and stop any other cats coming into the house.
- If your cat normally goes outdoors, but they are happy to be kept inside, try to keep them in as much as possible.
- Importantly, don’t keep your cat indoors if they seem stressed by the new routine or have previously suffered with stress-related problems. Stress can lead to very serious health conditions such as stress cystitis.
What should I do if my rabbit misses a vaccination?
Unvaccinated pet rabbits (including rabbits that have missed a booster) are at risk of catching diseases such as Myxomatosis. These diseases spread from rabbit to rabbit, but can also be transmitted by insects such as flies and mosquitos. If you have an unvaccinated bunny, you will need to:
- Keep them away from wild rabbits.
- Keep their environment as clean as possible.
- Consider moving your rabbits inside if you can give them the space they need (although this doesn’t provide complete protection).
Joanne added: “If you’re worried about your pet and you think they need to see a vet due to an emergency, please call your local practice first. They can then help you determine whether you require an urgent appointment, or whether it’s a condition that can be treated and monitored at home.”
For many people, their pet is their only companion. Now more than ever, PDSA needs your help to treat sick and injured pets and keep families together. PDSA is urging the public to donate what they can to help keep them continue their vital service www.pdsa.org.uk.