Vet Q&A: what should I do about vaccinations during lockdown?

by PDSA Vets | 16 April #VetQ&As

With veterinary practices across the country needing to prioritise emergency cases due to lockdown restrictions, it’s understandable that some owners are worried about their pet missing vaccinations.

We know how vital vaccinations are in keeping our pets happy and healthy, but PDSA and other veterinary practices across the country have sadly been hugely affected by coronavirus and many can now only offer urgent and essential care. This means routine treatments, such as vaccinations, may well be delayed until after the crisis is over.

Our vets have been answering some of your questions to give you some helpful advice during this time on how to keep your four-legged friend safe.

 

Dogs

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. This means they’ll be 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’re normally protected against. 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).

 

Cats

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. Most cats have some protection covering them for around three months after the date their vaccine is due.

There are some steps we’d advise if your adult cat misses their booster:

  • 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.

 

Rabbits

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).

 

Once it's safe to do so, we'd advise contacting your vet to arrange to catch up on your pet's vaccinations as soon as possible.

If you have more queries about your pet’s health at this time, try our Pet Health Hub which is full of vet approved advice and tips. If you think your pet does need emergency care, then contact your vet in the first instance.

For more information on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting PDSA and our services, visit our information pages.

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About PDSA Vets
We've put together advice from our veterinary team across PDSA.
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