RSPCA Victoria says pets need vaccines too

RSPCA Victoria is urging pet owners not to delay their pets’ vaccinations any further after last year’s COVID shutdown caused many people to cancel their animals’ annual vet checks.

Dr Emma Bronts, RSPCA Victoria’s Chief Veterinarian, says the RSPCA’s Burwood vet clinic has seen a reduction from 344 appointments to 264 appointments a week, creating concern that pets may be missing out on their essential vaccinations as owners may not have rescheduled cancelled appointments from last year.

“With all the discussion about vaccines at the moment, let’s ensure our pets don’t get left out of the conversation. Vaccinations are essential to protect your pet from a number of serious and life-threatening diseases. It is the single most important way to ensure your pet has a long and healthy life,” says Dr Bronts.

During the COVID-19 lockdown last year, many people had to cancel their pets’ routine check-ups with vet clinics only open for essential and emergency appointments. During an annual vet check, your pet will receive any necessary vaccinations and boosters, as well as a physical exam and any required tests or treatments to ensure they are fit and well.

“Many Victorians delayed their routine heath appointments last year, like the dentist or the optometrist. We know we must prioritise our health this year, and it should be the same for your pet. At RSPCA Victoria clinics, we are reaching out to clients to remind them of their pets’ appointments they may have cancelled during the pandemic lockdown.

“It can be easy to forget when there is nothing obviously wrong with your animal, but yearly checks are an essential part of responsible pet ownership. Without vaccinations your pet becomes vulnerable to a whole host of diseases that may endanger their life. Whether you own a dog, cat, rabbit or horse, booking them in for a vaccination should be number one priority this year.”

Other ways to protect your pet from disease include regularly washing your hands when feeding or interacting with your pet, providing routine flea and worming treatment and ensuring they have a balanced diet.

For cats, RSPCA Victoria encourages owners to keep them indoors, or in a contained outdoor area at all times. Dogs should avoid drinking from communal water bowls and nosing through garbage.

To book a vaccination appointment at an RSPCA Victoria vet clinic, visit www.rspcavic.org/clinic.

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