Vaccine shortage for pets continues

Pet owners look set for a longer wait to get some vaccinations for their pets  - despite earlier reassurance that a national vaccination shortage would be resolved by the new year.

By Fiona Finch
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 12:30 pm
Join the queue -  waiting for a vaccine against cat flu and feline enteritis
Join the queue - waiting for a vaccine against cat flu and feline enteritis

One local vet has advised that it could be spring before full supplies of vaccinations are resumed.

It was in November that it became apparent that there was a nation-wide shortage of certain vaccines foir dogs and cats with demand outstripping supply.

One of the main reasons for the shortage is thought to be the increase in the number of pet owners - with many people deciding to get a puppy or kitten during lockdown.

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Some vets are known to have set up priority lists for vaccinatuioin against cat flu and feline enteritis (also known as parvovirus) and are carrying out risk assessments on a case by case basis.

At Withy Grove Vets on Station Roiad, Bamber Bridge vet Mandy Skinner said they had been fortunate to be able to meet customer demand.... but at times they had resorted to contacting manufactuers directly and been allocated a quota of vaccines. On one recent day they had been sent two fewer vaccines than needed, but the situation changed from day to day. Mandy said she was aware it was not just a problem in Britain but overseas as well.

She said: "We were pretty much promised it would be sorted by the new year and now we're being told it will be sorted by spring. We take each day as it comes. We order vaccines and just keep our fingers crossed whether they will arrive or not. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't."

Mandy said the combined distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus vaccination for dogs and feline enteritis vaccines are the vaccines in shorter supply.

It was, she said, possible to get individual leptospirosis and parvovirus vaccines for dogs and flu and leukaemia vaccines for cats.

She said the practice had been able to work through the shortage with the occasional hold-up, in part because a few years ago it introduced a core vaccine system. For the short term she advised that: "The majority of adult dogs and cats are not particularly vulnerable to the diseases we can't get hold of the vaccines for. We have been lucky we haven't had a large amount of problems but we have had to adapt things."

Puppies and kittens are a priority for vaccination because they are much more vulnerable to picking up diseases.

Another Lancashire veterinary practice had sent out letters advising: "As you may be aware there is a national shortage of cat vaccines. Hence we have not been able to do booster vaccinations for cat flu and enteritis when they were due. When we receive our allocation we will have to prioritise cats that are most at risk."

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has been contacted for comment.