Dog vaccines during the pandemic
- Vaccinations protect our pet dogs from nasty diseases such as: Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Distemper and Hepatitis (canine adenovirus).
- During the pandemic, some veterinary practices (including PDSA) have had to delay vaccinations in order to prioritise sick and injured pets.
- However, it’s still just as important to keep your dog protected against preventable diseases, so if your vet isn’t able to vaccinate them you may want to contact other practices in your area to see if they can help.
- If your dog is currently unvaccinated, it’s important to know how to keep them safe until they’re protected again.
Why isn't my vet offering vaccinations at the moment?
During the pandemic, vets are having to prioritise the sickest pets, which means that many routine services such as vaccines are being delayed or cancelled.
During this challenging time, The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have asked vets across the UK to prioritise urgent/essential treatment for the sickest pets. Sadly, this means that some practices are unable to offer their routine procedures such as vaccinations and neutering. If your vet is unable to vaccinate your dog, you may want to contact some other local vets to see if they are able to help, and in the meantime, follow our guidance below to keep them safe.
Please keep in mind that your vets will be doing their best to care for some very sick pets and will really appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging time.
I am a PDSA client and want to have my dog vaccinated, what do I do?
Sadly, PDSA are not currently able to offer preventive services such as vaccinations and neutering. This is because, at the moment, we are facing a huge demand for our services, and our priority is treating pets in need of urgent or lifesaving treatment. We hope to start providing preventive services again at some point, but it’s likely that a reduced service will continue into the foreseeable future. We recommend that our clients find another veterinary practice for their pet’s vaccinations. Try your local private practice, or use the RCVS website to find vets in your local area. Don’t worry, even if your dog is vaccinated/neutered elsewhere, they will still be registered with us should they become unwell at any point. We really appreciate your patience and support during this difficult time.
Keeping your unvaccinated puppies and dogs safe
- They are safe to go into your garden (as long as no unvaccinated dogs have visited recently, and it’s secure from foxes).
- Stay away from areas where there could have been rats, cows, foxes or other unvaccinated dogs, don’t allow your puppy to meet any dogs outside of your household, and don’t bring any new dogs into your home.
- You can take your puppy out but make sure you carry them.
- Don’t let them on the ground in public spaces and be aware that others may see your puppy and be tempted to come over to say hi, but please make sure you maintain a social distance of at least 2 metres for everyone’s safety.
If your dog has had regular vaccinations throughout their life, they are likely to have some protection covering them for approximately two - three months after the date their vaccine was due. However, once this time has lapsed, they will be at risk of catching some of the diseases we vaccinate against. If your dog’s vaccines have lapsed, take the following precautions:
- Keep them away from other dogs and avoid walking in areas where many other dogs have been (perhaps consider walking on a quiet footpath instead of visiting the local park).
- Normally, it’s a great idea for dogs to play together, but during lockdown you need to keep them apart because many will have missed their vaccine boosters.
- Avoid places that farm animals and rats live such as farm fields, or ponds, stagnant water and rivers, as there is a higher risk of leptospirosis in these places.
Published: October 2020
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst