Pet vaccination rates plummet as anti-vax movement grows

A UK-based pet charity called PDSA has warned that the number of pet owners who are choosing not to vaccinate their pets are putting millions of animals at risk. The decrease in pet vaccination rates coincidences with the steady increase in anti-vax sentiment, the movement putting children, vulnerable adults, and their pets at risk of a variety of easily preventable diseases.

The decline in pet vaccination rates was recently detailed in the new PAW Report for 2019 from PDSA. In the charity's animal wellbeing report, PDSA focused on the concerning decline in pet vaccination rates, finding that only 66-percent of pets in the UK had received primary vaccinations compared to 84-percent in 2016.

In addition to a rapid decrease in the number of pets getting primary vaccinations, the report also found that 32-percent of pets in the UK aren't receiving regular vaccine boosters, meaning their risk of developing certain conditions increases over time. The three-year decrease represents more than 7 million pets, the report claims.

Primary pet vaccines cover a variety of common, potentially deadly conditions, including rabies, distemper, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and adenovirus, heartworm, kennel cough, leptospirosis, lyme disease, and more. These vaccinations are usually given starting around two months of age and progressing over the following weeks through the second year of life.

The report comes amid growing public health concerns over low vaccination rates, something largely spurred by misinformation spread online claiming many supposed health risks associated with these vaccines. A number of online platforms have taken steps to address this misinformation, including blocking certain search results and directing users to authoritative sources of information.