‘National shortage’ of animal vaccines delay dogs and cats being jabbed in UK

Some veterinary offices struggling to get the medication have no choice but to book some pets as priority while rescheduling appointments for others.

One practice wrote to owners to tell them that due to their annual booster vaccinations, cats and dogs will have to wait several months for the clinic to prioritize kittens and puppies that are most at risk of becoming seriously ill.

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Pub-goers are returning after Wetherspoons attempts to drown record lossesThere has been a stalemate on vaccination doses across the UK for pets like this beagle puppy

Wylie Vets, who has clinics in London and Essex, told the owners, “The veterinary profession is facing national vaccine shortages in all companies. This deficiency affects both dog and cat vaccines. “

As a result, the practice had to “make the necessary decision to prioritize puppies, kittens and booster vaccinations in the first year”.

Appointments for older pets due to their annual refreshment will be postponed by three months, the practice said.

“That’s for sure [and is] in line with the guidelines recommended by manufacturers, ”it added.

Vaccinations protect puppies from serious diseases such as parvovirus and canine distemper virus, which can lead to high-mortality infections.

Vaccinations also protect kittens from diseases such as feline infectious enteritis, a serious and often fatal intestinal infection, and feline herpes virus, a leading cause of upper respiratory disease.

After primary vaccination, cats and dogs will need regular booster injections throughout their lives to maintain their immunity.

Booster vaccinations are usually given every 12 months, although it is generally considered safe to leave a gap of up to 15 months.

The delay is likely to raise the question of owners whether they could pay a high veterinarian bill if they cannot get their pet vaccinated and the pet becomes ill as a result.

Two insurance providers, PetPlan and Animal Friends, have been contacted. PetPlan didn’t respond while Animal Friends declined to comment.

Veterinarians said they didn’t know how long the shortage will last.

The problem is exacerbated by the sharp increase in pet ownership during the pandemic – according to the Association of Pet Food Manufacturers, around 3.2 million households bought pets between March 2020 and March 2021.

At the same time, the UK is losing veterinarians. Many European vets left the UK after Brexit while others quit due to burnout.

Justine Shotton, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: “We have heard anecdotal from members about deficiencies in certain pet vaccines, particularly cat vaccines.

“We believe this is due to a number of issues, including an increase in pet ownership during the pandemic, which is leading to increased demand.

“Veterinarians work with vaccine suppliers to meet their customers’ needs and may need to prioritize allocations. Your veterinarian can contact you if delays are likely, but we would like to stress that a short-term delay should not be a cause for concern. “