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Rise in deadly cat & dog diseases

23rd January 2020

Dear easipetcare friends,

Did you know that the number of dogs and cats being vaccinated in the UK has dropped by over a quarter in recent years?!! This is a serious concern for all pet owners due to the rising numbers of dogs and cats seen with life-threatening diseases. Our easipetcare practices are seeing more cases of dogs and cats affected by serious infections, which are preventable by vaccination. This is why we want to urge our loving pet owners to vaccinate your animals in order to reduce the risk to your own pet and spread of these diseases in the pet population.

When it comes to the health and happiness of your precious pet, prevention is ALWAYS better than cure. And there’s no better way to protect your fur ball against illness than by getting them vaccinated.

cat preventative healthcare

Vaccinations save lives – it’s that simple!

After all… a healthy fur-friend is a happy fur-friend – and that’s the most im-paw-tant thing we care about as loving pet-owners.

The warning comes as several diseases, which were once rare in the UK, are on the rise. Our Southampton team saw such a case recently. Our easipetcare Southampton’s Head of Practice Kirby recalls “Historically we’ve been good at vaccinating our pets in the UK, reducing risk of preventable diseases. It was rare for us to see cases of infections such as distemper, parvovirus and panleucopaenia, which were commonplace in 1970’s and 80’s. But in recent years we’re seeing increasing numbers of dogs and cats affected by these diseases, which can be fatal. It is extremely distressing for the pet and their owner, and for everyone involved with their care.

One such case was Dave, a kitten brought into the practice when he was only a few weeks old. Dave’s mother had not been vaccinated and became infected with Panleukopaenia virus while she was pregnant. The infection passed to the kittens through the uterus, affecting their development. All Dave’s brothers and sisters succumbed to the infection and consequently died in their first few weeks of life.😥 Dave was adopted by our wonderful vet nurse, Nickie, whose nursing care helped him to survive. Nickie says, “Dave is a wonderful happy cat, and a loving part of our family. The infection sadly caused permanent brain damage meaning he’s unsteady on his legs and unable to go outside. It’s so important to protect our pets from these preventable diseases.

panleukopaenia kitten with vet nurse

Vaccination rates have seen a recent dip according to the PDSA’s PAW report. Primary vaccinations of dogs, cats and rabbits dropped from 84% in 2016 to just 66% in 2019! Kirby says, “This is especially worrying as disease spread is controlled by ‘herd immunity’, where at least 70% of the population must be vaccinated to prevent disease taking hold. Worryingly, we’re starting to see small outbreaks of diseases in local populations across the UK”.

Another recent case was that of Roxy the German Shepherd who was brought into our Derby practice because she had stopped eating. Tests showed Roxy was seriously ill with leptospirosis, a bacterial infection which can cause liver and kidney failure. She was referred for specialist intensive care. Her owner, Jayne Carter said, “It was an extremely worrying time. One of the vets said in the 15 years she has been working as a vet she has never seen a dog recover from this disease. We are so blessed Roxy is still with us.” The rest of the family were also at risk, as Mrs. Carter says, “Our other dogs had to have a course of antibiotics and myself and my husband were advised to seek medical attention because of the risks to our health”.

dog sitting

Reluctance to vaccinate has followed health scares, similar to the case in humans. While no vaccine is 100% safe, the risks to health are much lower than the diseases they prevent. In addition to falling vaccination rates, there has also been a steep rise in pets brought into the UK from countries where diseases, which are rare here, are widespread. These animals may appear well at the time of import, but may still be carrying disease. This can increase the risk to our native pets being exposed to infection.

At easipetcare we are passionate about providing affordable solutions to enable owners to give their pets the best preventative care. Over Christmas many people welcome a new furry member into the family, so to help provide them with the best start, we’re currently offering reduced price puppy and kitten Healthy Start packs until the end of February 2020. But we must also stress the importance of continuing preventative healthcare throughout your precious pet’s life. Primary vaccinations give young animals the best start in life, but if they’re not boosted regularly protection will reduce over time. We have developed products to help pet pawrents give their pets the best affordable care throughout their life – check out our amazing value healthcare plans here.

Routine vaccination for dogs in the UK provide protection against the following diseases:

Distemper – a viral disease leading to respiratory, neurological and gastrointestinal disease.

Parvovirus – causing severe vomiting and diarrhoea, especially in puppies. This is a highly contagious virus and spreads quickly in populations. Mortality rate can be as high as 90% in untreated cases.

Leptospirosis – a bacteria spread by wildlife and surviving in water courses. This can lead to liver and kidney failure (the same group of bacteria which lead to Weil’s disease in people). Leptospirosis can also lead to severe diseases in humans.

dog vaccine article

Routine vaccination for cats in the UK provide protection against the following diseases:

Herpes – leads to upper respiratory tract infection and ocular disease. Once infected, a cat will usually remain a carrier of the virus throughout it’s life.

Calicivirus – causing flu symptoms, mouth ulcers and joint inflammation. In rare cases highly virulent strains can develop leading to pneumonia, liver disease, skin ulceration and bleeding disorders.

Panleukopaenia – a highly infectious virus leading to severe immune suppression and diarrhoea, especially in young animals. This virus can also affect brain development if contracted in utero.

Feline Leukaemia virus – a virus which can cause anaemia, immune suppression and increased risk of cancers

cat vaccine article

You can read more about vaccinating your pet on our vaccination advice articles here.

Until next time, with very best wishes,

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