Our Services during Covid-19
Our main hospital on Salisbury Road is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have been performing essential and urgent consultations and procedures throughout lockdown in order to maintain the health and welfare of our patients and we will continue to do this.
In addition to helping your pets, we also want to prioritise your safety and the safety of our team members. Therefore we have put measures in place to reduce the risk to you, whilst still helping your pet if he or she needs it.
We are following the government’s guidelines on safe working environments to keep our team safe. Therefore we are working in smaller groups in shifts. We have changed the way we work to maintain social distancing, but working in this way means things take a bit longer. So this means that we do not have the capacity to perform as many consultations and procedures as normal. Lots of work we have to do such as holding pets to be examined, taking blood samples, performing ultrasound scans, or operations requires team members to work closely together. Our vets and nurses are very dedicated to the health and welfare of their patients, but we need to consider the health and welfare of the vets and nurses too. We are doing everything we can to offer all essential health care to your pet in as timely manner as possible.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We hope that you, your family, and your pets stay well throughout this pandemic.
1) Client Health
• We want to keep you safe. Therefore at the moment, we are asking you to stay outside and not enter the practice. This means that social distancing can be maintained.
• We will wear face coverings when we come out to speak to you and collect your pet in order to reduce the risk to you. We would be very grateful if you would wear a face-covering too.
• We are trying to spread out appointments to reduce the number of people attending the practice at any one time.
• We are trying to reduce the trips you need t make to the practice by managing cases remotely. We are also trying to combine things, so if you are coming to the practice for any reason and you need flea and worm treatment or other medication let us know and we can get this ready for you.
• Please let us know if you have COIVD-19 symptoms and please do not attend the practice if this is the case.
• Please let us know if you or someone you live with is vulnerable or shielding and we will do what we can to help support you remotely.
• Please ensure you have washed your hands, prior to coming to the practice.
• If you do have to enter the practice, in an emergency, it is very important to maintain social distancing and use the hand sanitiser provided. Please wear a face covering if possible.
• We are offering vet telephone consultations in order to help remotely where appropriate. This means we can help your pet without putting you at unnecessary risk. Please be aware that these consultations are chargeable.
• If the vet feels that the situation cannot be managed remotely and that your pet needs to come to the practice to be examined, then they will discuss this with you and make the necessary arrangements.
• Please get in touch for further information.and we can discuss the best options for you.
• We want to be able to help all pets with health issues. To be able to do this we are unable to offer non-essential appointments at this time. These include routine claw clips (unless claws growing in or broken), weight clinics, 6-month health checks and weigh and worm appointments. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes.
• We are here 24 hours a day 7 days a week for all urgent and emergency cases.
3) Visiting a Branch
• Consultations are by appointment only so please call us first to arrange this.
• On arrival to the car park, please telephone us to say you are here.
• One of the team will come out when it is your turn.
• Please place the pet carrier a few steps away and then step back so that the team member can move forward and pick it up.
• We will use our own leads to bring dogs in so that we do not handle your lead. Small dogs and puppies should be brought in pet carriers if possible.
• The vet will do a full examination of your pet inside the practice
• The vet will then call you to discuss the findings over the phone or via a safe distance in the car park.
• Payments are to be made over the phone by card or by BACS transfer only. No cash will be accepted.
We can now start to offer vaccinations, starting with the most high-risk animals
• Puppies from 12 weeks old
∗ Vaccinating your puppy at 12 weeks means that he or she can start to go out 1 week later, as long as they stay away from water. They will need a second vaccination at 16 weeks old to maintain thor immunity for a year. This vaccination schedule means your puppy can still go outside from 13 weeks old and avoids the need for a third vaccine.
∗ We advise that unvaccinated puppies and dogs are confined to the house and garden
• Kittens from 16 weeks old
∗ Kittens should be neutered and vaccinated before they go outside. This protects them from disease and unwanted pregnancies. Therefore they don’t need to be vaccinated until they are old enough to be neutered. We are trying to reduce the number of trips you need to make to the practice by arranging vaccinations and neutering at the same time. Please email or call us to discuss this with one of our vets.
∗ We advise that unvaccinated kittens and cats are kept indoors
• Dog and cat 1st yearly vaccination
This vaccine is important to ‘boost’ the immunity from their puppy or kitten course. Therefore these vaccines should be done within one month of the due date if possible.
• Rabbit vaccinations
We can now offer a new combined vaccine that protects against myxomatosis, RHD-1 and RHD-2. This vaccine protects rabbits over 7 weeks old for 1 year, therefore only one trip to the practice is needed. Please call or email to arrange this.
• Adult dogs and cats
∗ Dogs and cats who are within 12 weeks of their annual booster will not need to restart their course. We are arranging these boosters to be done from 8 weeks past the due date. This is to allow us to catch up with all the vaccines we were unable to do in March and April. Your dog or cat will still be protected.
∗ Dogs and cats who are over 18 months since their last vaccinations will need to restart the vaccine course
∗ Indoor only cats are at very low risk of infectious disease, so a vaccine may not be needed – please discuss this with your vet.
We are now able to start offering neutering in certain cases. Our vets will be doing a risk assessment in order to make sure that we do this in a safe way. We need to consider the risk to you in bringing your pet to the surgery, the risk to our teams in performing the operation, and the risk to the pet.
Particularly at-risk animals are:
• Young cats who cannot be kept inside
• Cats and dogs who are kept in mixed-sex pairs or groups (boys and girls together)
• Rabbits showing aggression
Please call or email us to arrange a pre-neuter phone consultation with a vet or nurse.
Please bear with us as we will only be able to do a limited number of neutering per day.
We would strongly advise that all kittens and cats that are unneutered are continued to be kept indoors. This is vital for the cat population and cat health. We would advise unneutered dogs are kept on the lead
We have been performing all essential operations throughout lockdown. However, we have to make sure we are prioritising the safety of the patient and of the team members. We are following the government’s guidelines on safe working environments to keep our team safe. Therefore we are working in smaller groups in shifts therefore we do not have the capacity to perform as many procedures as pre-COVID 19. An operation means that two or more team members will need to be less than 2 meters apart throughout the procedure. Our vets and nurses are very dedicated to the health and welfare of their patients, but we need to consider the health and welfare of the vets and nurses too. We are doing everything we can to offer all essential procedures in as timely manner as possible.
7) Prudent use of oxygen
We use oxygen when anaesthetising patients for operations. Oxygen is needed by the NHS to treat patients affected by COVID-19. We want to ensure that there is an adequate supply of oxygen to the NHS. We are therefore taking steps to make sure we manage the use of oxygen in our practice.
• Please ensure you have placed an order for pet medications 1 week before your prescription is due to run out.
• We can post medications to you if requested (chargeable)
• Medication checks still need to be conducted every 4 months. However, these can now be done via a vet telephone consultation. This means that we can ensure that all is okay with your pet, without putting you at risk by coming to the practice.
• Dispensing medications over the telephone is not normally permitted, however the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has temporarily relaxed this rule in order to allow us to help manage cases remotely.
9) Pet Wellbeing
• Dog walks can be continued as long as social distancing is maintained.
• If walking is not an option, then ask a neighbour or friend to help.
• 20 mins mental stimulation is the same as 1hr exercise so please use training, tricks, food games to tire your dog at home, if needed.
• If you are really struggling with support for your dog, then please contact your branch and the team will be able to give you further advice.
• If you are suffering with Covid-19 then do restrict others touching your dog. Although very minimal, there is a small chance your dog could pass on the virus.