Thousands of Sunderland pets are at risk from killer diseases such as parvovirus and feline leukaemia, vet charity PDSA has warned.
However, owners now have a “pet champion” on hand to help them keep their animals healthy.
Vet Jessie Hetherington will take on the role at Sunderland Pet Hospital, after being appointed as part of a nationwide vet squad to help protect vulnerable pets on Wearside, thanks to a £550,000 funding award from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Jessie will be one of more than 50 vets and nurses across the UK who will educate pet owners about preventive health, and encourage uptake of thousands of vaccinations, neutering operations, parasite treatments and microchips.
Her appointment comes after PDSA warned of a potential crisis due to the 6.1 million UK pets not receiving regular booster vaccinations, and the 4.1 million cats, dogs and rabbits not neutered.
This leaves pets exposed to a range of potentially deadly, preventable diseases, such as leptospirosis, womb infections and cancers.
Jessie said: “The funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery means I can protect more local pets against diseases and educate more owners about preventive health.”
PDSA’s latest Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report has revealed that 6.3 million pets aren’t microchipped, meaning these animals are less likely to be reunited with their owners if they go missing. As of April 2016, it will become compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped.
For more information about PDSA, visit www.pdsa.org.uk.