When should I take my pet to the vet? PDSA advice for worried pet owners during coronavirus lockdown

During these unprecedented times with many of us having to stay at home, pet owners will have concerns and questions about whether you can still take your animals to see a vet.

Like many other essential services, veterinary practices across the country have been affected by Coronavirus (Covid-19), with many now having to prioritise emergency cases.

PDSA Vet Nurse Joanne Wright said: “Every vet and vet nurse cares about animal welfare and during this time of crisis we also need to protect other people as well. The last thing we want to do is put our staff and pet owners needlessly at risk by asking them to come to their local practice for non-urgent treatment.

“PDSA and other veterinary practices continue to follow all official guidelines from the Government and British Veterinary Association to ensure we are helping to contain and minimise the impact of the virus wherever possible”.

“It means that all veterinary practices must limit their focus to providing emergency care and fulfilling urgent prescriptions. It means routine check-ups and treatments, as well as vaccinations and minor operations, will be cancelled until after the crisis is over.

“If you’re worried about your pet and you think they may need to see a vet, please call your local practice first. They will be able to offer advice and look at the best way to help you and your pet.”

If you’re stuck at home and are worried about your pet being sick, there are ways to get help without having to leave the house.

Many veterinary practices offer online or telephone consultations, meaning pets can still get the best possible advice from veterinary staff. They can then help you determine whether it’s an emergency that requires a visit to your local practice, or whether it’s a condition that can be treated & monitored at home.

Joanne adds: “Many people will be concerned about their pets’ prescriptions during this time. If you are self-isolating or showing symptoms, please don’t put others at risk. A lot of veterinary practices have put measures in place which means prescriptions can be sent to your home in the post.”

If you need to bring your pet to a veterinary practice, please help keep vets and vet nurses safe by sticking to the following guidance.

  • If you are unwell, have been diagnosed with Coronavirus (COVID-19), are in self-isolation or self-distancing but your pet requires treatment, please let your vet know so that they can advise on the best way that we can help you.
  • Only one person can bring a pet to an appointment, and no one but staff should be allowed into the practice.
  • Follow social distancing guidance – owners should avoid contact and pets should be handed over whilst maintaining a two metre distance.
  • When you arrive at your local vets, check in with reception and you’ll likely be asked to wait outside in your car. You’ll be informed by a team member once the vet is ready to assess your pet.

Joanne concludes: “Certain things all pet owners should have on hand during self-isolation include pet food, flea treatments, cat litter and disposable waste bags. It’s also worth making sure you have some fun, interactive toys on hand to keep your pets occupied while you’re spending more time at home.”

For many people, their pet is their only companion. Now more than ever, PDSA needs your help to treat sick and injured pets and keep families together. PDSA is urging the public to donate what they can to help keep them continue their vital service www.pdsa.org.uk.

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