You may be worried about coronavirus (Covid-19) and what this means for your cat or dog.
We'll update this page with the latest advice. It also explains what our insurance covers, the features of your policy that may be able to help, and how we're handling the outbreak as a business.
We hope all our customers stay safe and healthy. Many of you may be working from home or self-isolating so we'll also update the page with guides to help you keep your pet happy and healthy wherever you are.
Don't forget that Bought By Many customers have unlimited free video calls with UK-registered vets through the FirstVet app. If you're stuck at home it's a great way to get expert advice about any issues you're concerned about. Find out how to download and use FirstVet.
Our customer service team are operating as normal. They're available on 0345 340 4090 for our standard working hours of 9am-7pm Mon-Fri and 9am-5.30pm on Saturdays. You can make a claim online through My account.
Here are some of our other guides that may help during this time:
- Services to help pet owners during coronavirus
- Can I take my pet to the vet during the coronavirus outbreak?
- Preventing separation anxiety in dogs after the coronavirus lockdown
- How to adopt or foster a pet while social distancing
- How we can help if your struggling with monthly pet insurance payments
- How to keep your pet happy and healthy at home during the coronavirus outbreak
- Should I feed my dog less if it's exercising less
- Pet vaccinations during the coronavirus lockdown
- How to socialise your puppy while social distancing
- How to groom a dog at home during the coronavirus outbreak
Can cats and dogs catch coronavirus?
The World Organisation for Animal Health says that some cats and dog have tested positive for Covid-19. However, they appear to be isolated cases where the pet had close contact with a human who had coronavirus.
It stresses there is no evidence that pets have spread the disease and there is no justification in taking measures against pets that may compromise their welfare.
Other strains of coronavirus can occur in pets and humans but these don’t cause severe or long-term issues.
Wash your hands with soap and hot water before and after contact with pets. This also protects against common bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella that can pass between you and your pet.
Bought By Many's veterinary nurse, Sarah James, recommends regularly cleaning and disinfecting litter trays and food/water bowls, clearing up cat and dog feces quickly. She also suggests avoiding letting your pet lick your face to prevent the spread of viruses.
If your pet becomes unwell or is injured, please contact a vet. Bought By Many customers have unlimited free access to UK-registered vets 24/7 via the FirstVet app. You can use it wherever you have a mobile device with wi-fi or phone signal.
Can pets spread coronavirus?
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) President, Daniella Dos Santos, told us that the current advice from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) remains that the predominant route of transmission is human to human and pets can’t spread the virus.
The BVA has recommended that cats from infected households or where their owners are self-isolating be kept inside and only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.
The organisation has also produced a guide for pet owners to help the understand the latest guidelines on access to vet care.
Dos Santos reiterates: “There have been a tiny number of cases of Covid-19 in animals and in all cases, it is likely that the transmission was human to animal. There is no evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners.
"And, as a precaution, for pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating we are recommending that you keep your cat indoors if possible, during that time."
Does Bought By Many pet insurance cover coronavirus?
All of our policies (excluding Liability Only) will cover vet fees should your pet become unwell.
While pets are thought to be a low risk from Covid-19, our insurance policies do not exclude specific viruses so we would cover a new claim for vet treatment for it.
If you're struggling to get to a vet for other issues you can video call a UK-registered vet through the FirstVet app. Bought By Many customers have unlimited free access to FirstVet 24/7.
All our vet fee policies have some level of cover for emergency minding. This can be used to cover the cost of pet boarding, a cattery, kennel or pet sitting if you or a relative have an unexpected stay in hospital.
Check your policy to see how much cover you have under the 'Cover if you need pet minding in an emergency' section. You can see all our policy documents here.
We understand it is difficult to get to regular vet appointments you may have had, such as annual vaccinations or dental checks. We want you to know that if you are not able to attend these appointments we will still pay claims.
Some of our cover requires your pet to have regular check-ups for it to remain valid but the current situation makes it impossible for all owners to do this. We would never use this as an excuse to not pay a claim.
If you're a Bought By Many customers and you're struggling to make payments because your income has been affected by coronavirus, call our team on 0345 340 4090 to see if they can find a way to help.
Has Bought By Many been affected by coronavirus?
At Bought By Many we are prepared for all eventualities. We know some customers will be dealing with disruptions to their day-to-day routine, so we are working hard to ensure we continue to provide the best service possible.
As a tech-focused company, our team is able to work remotely and support customers as usual. Our customer services and claims team will be on hand to help should you have any questions.
What to do if you have to take your pet to a vet
On 23 March the British Veterinary Association and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons advised vets to minimise human contact, send as many staff as possible home, and to work remotely where possible.
Their statement said vets should not allow customers into practices at all. This means many vets will be postponing routine, elective and preventative treatments – this includes booster vaccinations, general health checks, nail clips, neutering operations and dental treatment.
Many vets may only offer support for emergency treatment (such as breathing problems, trauma, poisonings) and supplying long-term medications.
We recommend that you call your vet first to see if you need a remote consultation or treatment at the practice. If the practice is and able to see you they may have their own process that you need to follow, such as only having one person come with the pet and waiting in the car park until they are ready to see you.
If a pet is from a household with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, vets may suggest the pet is washed in the practice before being examined, unless this will prolong any pain it is in.
For more detail on what is classed as emergency treatment, see our guide to whether you can take your pet to the vet during the coronavirus outbreak.