Although vet practices are classed as essential services, many routine treatments and appointments have been cancelled to keep staff and pet owners safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Practices have been advised to only offer emergency or urgent treatments.
As the situation is moving quickly it's important to follow the latest government guidance but it's worth understanding what might be classed as an emergency and what vets are advising.
If you think your pet does need to see a vet, always call first to see what the practice recommends.
And the British Veterinary Association has produced a guide on access to vet care and other Covid questions.
Don't forget, Bought By Many customers have unlimited free access to the FirstVet app, which allows you to video call a UK-registered vet any time you're concerned about your pet's health. Find out how to use it here.
And get the latest information about coronavirus and pets and how our insurance can help here.
If you have to attend an appointment, please respect the way your vet operates. Many practices have fewer staff working in shifts and are not allowing owners inside the building to keep everyone safe. And, if you can, wear a face mask inside the practice.
Each practice may have its own guidance but the following lists are what the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Veterinary Association have suggested should be cancelled or treated.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has also created a page with advice for pet owners.
Vet services that may be suspended or delayed
- Vaccinations (unless for a shelter or in the case of an animal disease outbreak)
- Non-essential appointments - weight clinics, nail clipping, puppy sessions, annual health checks
- Routine reproductive work
What vets may remotely assess on the phone
- Mild trauma
- Skin issues, including flea allergic dermatitis
- Post-operation checks
- Repeat medication checks
- Vomiting and diarrhoea in an animal that is generally healthy
- Dental complaints
- Eye complaints
- Non-acute lameness
- Non-specific lethargy
- Anal glands/scooting
- Vaginal discharge
Emergency issues that may need a physical examination
- Any of the above issues a vet believes needs to be seen in person after they've first consulted you remotely
- Severe trauma
- Significant weakness or collapse
- A cough a pet has had for at least a week
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble giving birth
- Acute severe lameness
- Abdominal swelling
- Significant bleeding
- If a pet has swallowed a significant amount of a toxin
- If a pet is struggling to urinate or defecate
- Excessive urination or thirst
- Vomiting or diarrhoea with significant mental depression
- Ongoing treatment or monitoring of Addison's patients
- Monitoring of unstable diabetics
- Gut stasis in small mammals