Pet-lovers are as sincere as your horoscope – let’s make safe vaccines a reality | Aziz Datani

I’ve heard people have their heads in the sand, clearly unaware that scientists are currently working on a vaccine for pets. To me, this feels like going out in the dark and finding a tarot card. It’s nothing less than a miracle because, you know, germs are the bane of the internet.

Well, you’re right to be sceptical of science if it involves animals but pet-lovers are serious about keeping their beloved creatures at bay. Unfortunately, only a fraction of healthy animals are vaccinated against infectious diseases, so the prospect of a perfect, bulletproof vaccination solution is invigorating. I’d like to be part of any movement in favour of making parvovirus, rabies and most other canine and feline killers vaccine-friendly.

Your fur baby is vulnerable to rabies and, as vets often warn, regular vaccinations can be a public health nightmare because animals won’t take “out” for veterinary check-ups if they are on their medication. There may be veterinarians who offer a free rabies vaccine but – whisper it – there may not be enough vets to offer it.

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Meanwhile, shots for cats are always a struggle but a century-old antibiotic has been successfully used to treat them, as well as dogs with heart and lung problems.

The real question, of course, is: what would a smart, happy pet look like? It would probably be a furry, uncannily human-like sausage dog – the cutest creature on the planet if you were on the receiving end. I am willing to bet it would mate with human souls.

I’m sure we’d love a Burt from Burt’s Buzz Buzz as our tiger pup. There’s a bit of context: because we don’t have a proper vaccination strategy for cats, 1.8% are killed every year when they go missing and they get into residential streets or in parks.

Well, unless you’re desperate for a No 1, please have a nice run around and enjoy yourself on the leash. If your pet is vaccinated, they have a six in 10 chance of living another five years. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want that?

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