Home U.K UK hit by dog and cat vaccine shortage with vets having to...

UK hit by dog and cat vaccine shortage with vets having to choose between pets to jab


One veterinary practice in Essex this week emailed members to say it had to prioritise puppies, kittens, and first-year vaccine boosters until the situation gets better.

For all other animals, the Wylie Veterinary Centre said annual vaccine boosters will be delayed by three months. It says this is safe to do and follows manufacturers recommendations. 

In an email to customers, the centre said: “As yet we are unsure as to when the issue will be rectified, we are in constant contact with vaccine manufacturers and there will be further updates as we receive them.”

There are several reasons for the reported shortage, including the huge rise in pets bought during national lockdowns as a result of the pandemic.

Around 3.2million households in the UK acquired a pet in the first year of the pandemic, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association. 

There have also been increases in the number of animals being abandoned or dropped at animal shelters.

The Dogs Trust charity said it had seen a 35% increase in calls related to giving up dogs in the last few weeks. 

As the UK reopened, many people started to go back to work and were no longer able to care for or afford animals they had acquired during lockdown. 

It recently urged potential vet owners to “think long and hard before taking on a new pet”, as veterinary practices across the country struggle with staff shortages and high demand for services.

Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), said: “We are hearing anecdotally from members about a shortage of certain pet vaccines and are looking into the matter to pinpoint the possible causes and scale of the issue. 

“Vets are currently working to prioritise vaccine supplies and may contact clients if delays are likely. We’d like to emphasise that a short-term delay shouldn’t be cause for concern for either pet or public health.”

People worried about their pet’s vaccine are encouraged to contact their vet and ask what the procedure is. If it isn’t able to get hold of the vaccine there will usually be a delay and it should be able to explain exactly how long this will be. 

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