With the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, these are strange times. And while many people are being asked to stay at home as much as possible, we’ve had to change the way we work too. That does NOT mean that your pets won’t be seen if they need it – but it does mean that for many minor conditions and preventative health treatments, we might postpone consultations or appointments. In this blog, we’re going to look at what types of conditions do need urgent care, and what sort of things we might be postponing, or advising you to look after at home.
Why the lockdown? Pets don’t seem to get coronavirus.
That’s very true – there have so far been a grand total, worldwide, of 3 animals that have tested positive (and they all lived with infected owners). However, the problem isn’t our pets getting the disease – it’s us humans spreading it to each other. As a result, the government have told us all to minimise our interactions with other people, to prevent us from accidentally transmitting the virus.
So you’re not seeing any patients?
Of course we are! We are still open, and will see any patient that is in urgent need, to prevent suffering or distress.
So what is “urgent need”?
As a very general rule, an “emergency” is a situation where there is an immediate threat to the animal’s life or welfare. These are the sort of cases that a vet would always see, whatever time of day or night. We will of course still see these.
An “urgent” case is slightly different. These are patients who would suffer a significant impact on their health or welfare if care was to be delayed. Based on the guidance of our professional regulator, the RCVS, we would include those conditions that are highly likely to deteriorate if not seen within the current “lockdown” window.
OK, but what does that mean in practice?
If your pet is in imminent danger – we see them (but see below). If they are likely to be in danger in the near future without care, we will probably see them after an assessment over the phone.
Emergency cases would include conditions such as:
Severe injuries, such as a road traffic accident.
Animals that suddenly develop seizures, or where their seizures can’t be controlled at home.
Difficulty giving birth (dystocia).
Difficulty passing urine (blocked bladders are always an emergency!).
Flystrike in rabbits and other small pets – as the weather starts to warm up we will start seeing these.
We would assess these over the telephone and then arrange for them to be seen as soon as possible.
Urgent cases might include:
Prolonged severe coughing.
Vomiting or diarrhoea that doesn’t respond to home management.
Patients requiring monitoring for Addison’s Disease or Diabetes.
Altered appetite in rabbits and small pets (this can be an early sign of gut stasis).
We would again assess these remotely and then arrange a time to bring them in, if needed.
What if my pet has something that isn’t on the list?
Give us a ring! Our nurses and vets will be able to have a chat with you and decide whether the condition is:
- An emergency (in which case we see it right away);
- Urgent (in which case we’ll arrange to see it)
- One which can be dealt with at home (in which case we will give advice and in some cases, if needed, put medications up for collection).
If I have to come in, what should I do?
Exercise strict social distancing – as far as possible, stay 2m apart from other people on your way in. If there are 2 or more people in the waiting room, please wait outside until you can safely come in. And always call us before coming in.
If possible, bring a card for payment, or pay over the telephone, to reduce the risk of transmitting infection.
The Covid 19 pandemic may be with us for some time – but we will be here to support you and your pets throughout.