With the world in upheaval due to COVID-19, previously-important things like MOTs and dental checkups have gone out the window.
You might be wondering, though, whether you can still take your pet to the veterinary surgery if necessary, given the rules around staying at home.
While you might not be able to take your pet for routine checkups or vaccinations, owners can be reassured that they’ll still be able to head to the vet for emergency care.
In recent guidance, the UK Government made it clear that all veterinary practices will be permitted to remain open to provide care in emergencies, and vets have stepped in to assure customers they’re keeping their doors open for animals in need.
Others are offering video consultations too, to give their customers who are self-isolating further peace of mind.
My Family Pet, which has a network of daytime vet practices and referral hospitals throughout the UK, and Vets Nows’ 61 pet emergency clinics and hospitals have released statements saying they’ll be on hand for UK pets who may need emergency treatment over the coming weeks — whether it be during the day or at night.
Amanda Boag, who is group referral director at My Family Pet and oversees clinical leadership at Vets Now said: ‘We realise this is a hugely worrying time for everyone, and for the 12 million pet owners (44% of households) throughout the UK their family, friends, and pets are their number one priority.
‘Pets should not suffer needlessly regardless of the measures in place to tackle the spread of coronavirus so, if you’re worried, please do not hesitate to call us.
‘If our staff determine that your pet needs essential treatment, we will see you.’
In a bid to offer support to those in need, FirstVet, a UK provider of on-demand video consultations with local, qualified vets, is also providing its services without charge over the next six weeks, regardless of the individual’s insurance status.
David Prien, CEO and co-founder of FirstVet, comments: ‘Our number one concern is supporting the health of pets and their owners alike, which is why we and our insurance partners have decided to make our services available to all, regardless of insurance status, until the end of April 2020.
‘We are aware that the situation we find ourselves in is, for many, unprecedented, and we are keen to do all we can to help take away some of the stress and uncertainty that we know pet owners are experiencing.
‘We are also committed to playing our part in reducing unnecessary travel when social distancing measures are in place and hope that we can reduce some of the pressure experienced by the physical vet clinics that are being impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.’
If you think your pet is sick, the first thing you should do is give your usual vet a ring to see what they’re doing by way of video or telephone consultations.
You can also try services like FirstVet to find out whether the situation is considered an emergency one.
From there, they’ll assess how serious your pet’s condition is, and advise you what to do next.
If you’re self-isolating, they may be able to pick your pet up safely, or you’ll need to arrange for someone to come and pick your pet up without any contact with you.
If it is an emergency and you aren’t in self-isolation, you’re allowed to visit your vet, who will have safety measures in place to ensure minimised risks for them and you.
While pets cannot get COVID-19, the world doesn’t stop and they can still get ill in other ways – so take care of them just as you would the rest of the time.
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