Cat and Dog Vaccination Shortage – Last Updated 4 October 2021
Due to problems with some manufacturers experiencing vaccine shortages, there has been a knock-on impact on the entire cat and dog vaccination industry. Although we will hopefully continue to see supplies trickling in over the next few months, we will not be able to book vaccination appointments as we usually do.
The reason for these shortages are currently unclear; it appears to be a mix of COVID, Brexit, manufacturing difficulties and also just the sheer increase in demand for vaccination due to the number of new pets being acquired the country over not being able to be met by supply.
As a result, we have to responsibly assess the allocation of the vaccine stocks we have in our possession. Currently, cat vaccine stocks are more significantly impacted.
Please read below for the impact this may have on your pets’ vaccinations for the remainder of this year. Please note that these guidelines are subject to change at short notice based on vaccine availability, as we will be reviewing them regularly in light of the stock we are able to acquire.
We are postponing all cat boosters for one month initially, except for:
- Kittens who have just joined a household
- Cats due their first annual booster
- Cats who were registered as members of our Platinum Pet Club before 4 October 2021
If stocks run very low, all cats who have had their first annual booster can have their subsequent boosters postponed for up to three months without having to restart their course, and we will let you know if this becomes necessary.
At this stage, dog vaccines can continue as normal for our active patients (those who have been seen in the last 12 months, subject to the restrictions in question 3 of our FAQ below). We will not be able to vaccinate pets from other veterinary practices who are unable to carry out the vaccines due to low stocks. If you have a new puppy and would like to register them with us, please contact the practice in order to arrange this. Any rescues should be fully vaccinated before adoption. If you are unsure of whether we are able to vaccinate your dog, please give us a call and we will be happy to assist.
If stocks run very low, we may have to postpone all dog vaccines except puppies and first annual boosters for up to a month, and we will let you know if this becomes necessary.
Rabbit vaccinations are currently unaffected by this shortage and can therefore be booked as usual.
1. My pet is already booked in for their vaccine, do I need to cancel this appointment?
Our team will contact you if any vaccine appointment needs to be rescheduled as a result of the shortage.
2. I usually take my pets to a different practice; can I bring them to you for their vaccinations?
No, we are unable to vaccinate pets who usually attend another practice as we must prioritise our existing patients..
3. My pet has been to you for other treatment but not their vaccinations, will you do their booster?
Yes, provided that:
- The treatment has been administered within the previous 12 months from when you seek the appointment
- Your pet’s treatment was not a one off e.g., dental or neuter
- Your pet’s case history has not subsequently been requested by another practice
- You have not notified us that you intend to change practices or return to your usual practice, even if the case history has not yet been sent.
4. My pet is going to lapse on their vaccinations, are you able to restart their boosters?
If cats have gone more than three months over their due date, or dogs have gone more than one month over their due date, their vaccinations are considered to have lapsed. We will not have enough stock to cover adult booster restarts (the core vaccine requires two doses), so we strongly recommend making sure to book their booster before it lapses. If you would like to restart, we will add you to a waiting list so that when the shortage is over, we can contact you to reschedule this. We do send three reminders per vaccination course due so please make sure your contact details are up to date to prevent this from happening.
5. I am a breeder, can you vaccinate my litter?
We will only be able to do this if you have been to us with the mum within the last 12 months, per question three above.
Additionally, we would advise all breeders keep in mind this shortage when planning a litter; it would be in their best interests to postpone into the new year.
6. When will I know that you have my pet’s vaccines available to give to them?
We will be sending out reminders at their usual scheduled date so that you are aware they are due, and booking them in per the above. For the vaccines we are unable to provide at their usual due date, a member of our team will phone or text you to let you know that their vaccine is available and to schedule the appointment.
7. What if you run out and can’t vaccinate my puppy/kitten?
We really hope this won’t happen, but in the event of stocks running very low, leaving us unable to vaccinate kittens/puppies, we recommend that they are kept indoors until they are fully vaccinated.
8. How long will there be shortages?
At the moment, we hope that supply problems will have improved by early 2022. Unfortunately, there is no way to be certain at this stage, and we will update as soon as more information is available. We hope that by taking the measures above, we can ride out the shortages.
9. My pet is due to go into a kennels/cattery between now and January and their booster is due. What should I do?
Please notify your care provider of the shortage. For cats, they are able to go up to three months overdue before their immunity lapses, so they should be able to still go into the cattery. Similarly, dogs can go up to one month overdue before their immunity lapses. Outside of this, we are unable to control the situation if stocks run out so please discuss this with the provider of these services for their risk assessment of the situation.
10. My pet insurance requires vaccinations to be in date, will it still be valid?
As this is a problem the country over, we expect insurance companies to be understanding of the situation. However, you will need to contact them directly for their position on the matter.
11. Should I keep my healthy adult cat indoors?
Healthy adult cats who are used to being able to go outdoors may suffer significantly from the stress of being kept indoors as a result of the shortage, which may cause unnecessary stress and cause other health issues such as urinary problems. If your pet is happy to be kept indoors, it is advisable to do so if their vaccinations have lapsed.
12. I am not a registered client of Heathfield Vets but own a dog, can I book an appointment just for a vaccine and then go back to my regular practice?
No. We will only be booking dog booster vaccinations for our own clients. New puppy owners are of course welcome to register with the practice as normal or anyone wishing to transfer the entire care of their pet to Heathfield Vets. A full clinical history from your previous vet would be required to register.
Call us on 01435 864422 if you wish to discuss your pet’s vaccinations with us.