A UK study shows the rates of people vaccinating their pets are dropping fast and vets are worried animals are being endangered by their anti-vaxxer owners.

Vaccination rates for pets in the UK have been dropping sharply for years.

A new report by People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a UK veterinary charity, surveyed 5000 pet owners, including cat and dog owners and a few rabbit owners, for the annual PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report.

In 2016, 84 per cent of people said their pets had had their shots. By 2018, the number had dropped to 66 per cent.

Advertisement

It is not clear whether people are not vaccinating their pets because of anti-vax propaganda, but it could be playing a role in changing people's perceptions of vaccines for pets.

In the study, the most commonly stated reasons for not vaccinating was the cost of vaccines or whether their pets interacted with other animals. A total of 10 per cent of people said they just had never got around to it.

A worrying 16 per cent of pet owners did say they did not think vaccines were necessary.

The authors of the report say misinformation about human vaccines spreading through social media could be affecting pet owners and leading them to endanger their beloved pets.

"These negative messages about vaccines can be projected onto pets in surprising ways — for example, the false link between the [measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccines and autism has also been applied to pet vaccines by sceptics, despite any link being thoroughly debunked in people and autism not being documented in pets," they wrote.