A third National Vaccination Month campaign is set to take place in May 2011 in an attempt to counter falling rates of pet vaccination that have been reported by vets since the credit crunch.

Intervet /Schering-Plough Animal Health has announced plans for a third National Vaccination Month campaign to take place in May 2011.

The campaign, aimed at owners of unvaccinated animals, will seek to counter falling rates of pet vaccination that have been seen since the credit crunch.

NVM backer Chris Packham with his poodles Itchy and Scratchy.In the lead up to National Vaccination Month, the company will be supporting a major pet health awareness initiative through a national and regional PR campaign backed up by print and TV advertising.

By logging onto www.nvmonline.co.uk eligible pet owners will be able to download a voucher for a discounted vaccination offering savings of around £30 from participating Intervet-supplied surgeries throughout May. As well as dogs, cats and rabbits, horses will be included in the scheme for the second time.

During the last National Vaccination Month in June 2009, 1,022 surgeries participated nationwide and an additional 40,000 animals were vaccinated as a result – 8,000 up on the first campaign run in 2008. Many practices were kept busy with more than 100 vouchers redeemed.

The 2009 campaign came after more than a quarter of vets surveyed by Intervet reported concerns about falling levels of vaccination because of the credit crunch. Following the recession and public fears over the deficit, there are concerns that pet owners will cut back even further.

Research also suggests owners in some parts of the country are finding it harder to pay for the cost of vaccination – raising fears of disease “hot spots”, which have been highlighted by CICADA, Intervet’s own disease surveillance system.

Angus Robinson
from Intervet/Schering-Plough said: “Research shows that the main reason why people don’t vaccinate their pets is a lack of awareness of disease risk. We are also concerned that given the current pressures on household budgets, more people are deciding to cut back on vaccinating their animals with the real risk that this may have a potential effect on levels of herd immunity in the longer term.”

The new improved NVM website now offers a simpler system for surgeries to download and log vouchers for their clients. Also, in order to reach younger pet owners, the campaign will feature on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

The campaign is being backed by TV personality Chris Packham, presenter of the BBC’s Spring Watch and Autumn Watch series’.

He said: “As a dog owner myself, I am hoping that this campaign could be the incentive pet owners need to get their animals back on track with vaccinations and help them stay healthy.

“Animal disease is something that rarely hits the headlines but this year we are marking 10 years since the Foot and Mouth outbreak decimated Britain’s farm animal population. That was a very visible example of a terrible disease outbreak. Without wishing to scare people, pet disease is also lurking out there – it is the kind of thing that you never think is going to happen to your beloved pet but when it does, it is devastating.”

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health veterinary customers planning to take part in National Vaccination Month 2011 can log onto www.nvmonline.co.uk to complete the registration process.

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