The first annual World Animal Vaccination Day (20 April) aims to raise awareness of the role vaccines play in protecting both animal and human health.
Initiated by HealthforAnimals and the World Veterinary Association (WVA), each year’s event will have a different theme, with the inaugural day focusing on the importance of cat vaccination and keeping them up to date.
Thanks to widespread vaccination, fewer than 2% of healthy cats in the world have feline leukaemia.
Improving health and welfare
Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director at HealthforAnimals, said: “The benefits of vaccination are manifold.
“Vaccination not only protects animal health and improves welfare through reduced disease, it is also vital to protect human health. For instance, vaccinating just 70% of the dog population is enough to eliminate the risk of rabies infections in humans.
“Vaccination of food-producing animals helps to ensure a safe and sustainable supply of protein, which is especially important as the population continues to grow.”
Keeping cats healthy
WVA president René Carlson said: “Cats receive much less attention from preventive health care, including vaccination, than most other domestic species. The primary reason is about 50% of cat owners only visit a veterinarian when their cats are sick or injured.
“However, vaccination helps protect cats against several serious and/or life-threatening diseases and is the most effective, and least expensive, method to keep cats healthy in the first place.
“Decisions about vaccines for cats are based on the cat’s age, lifestyle, contact with other cats and the availability of licensed vaccines in the country, so it is important to discuss what vaccines your cat needs with your veterinarian.”