With vets remaining open for urgent care, when should you call your vet?

While most offices and shops have closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus, veterinary surgeries and pet shops are among the exceptions that are allowed to remain open.

A joint statement from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) explained that vets can continue to operate in order to provide emergency care, fulfil urgent prescriptions, and maintain the food supply chain.

However, the organisations stressed that the number of clients seen face-to-face should be kept to an ‘absolute minimum’ and that veterinary teams ‘must insist on strict social distancing measures at all times’.

In practice, this means that vets will prioritise urgent illness and injuries and will not carry out routine treatments until further notice. Vets have been advised to exercise their judgement as to when it is necessary to see an animal and/or their owner in person.

The RCVS Council has also announced a temporary change in the rules to allow the remote prescription of veterinary medicines where appropriate and where complying with the Government’s lockdown advice leaves no other available options.

With regard to pet vaccinations, the BVA recommended postponing adult boosters and said that the vast majority of primary vaccinations in puppies and kittens should also be delayed.

“Vets are working hard to balance public safety and animal welfare, and, as always, decisions will vary between practices and in different parts of the country,” the BVA said.

Vets Now has compiled a list of conditions that its vets deem to be potentially life-threatening. In all of these cases, you should call your nearest emergency vet right away:

1. Breathing difficulties

2. Open wound injuries

3. Traumatic injuries

4. Bloating in dogs

5. Failing to urinate

6. Seizing and fitting

7. Poisoning

8. Eye injuries

9. Repeated vomiting

10. Birthing difficulties

11. Severe pain and anxiety

12. Heatstroke

13. Near-drowning

14. Inability to weight bear or move limbs

15. Collapse

16. Rabbits not eating


So, while the country remains on lockdown, what should you do if your pet shows signs of being unwell?

Protect against the cost of veterinary treatment with pet insurance from Purely Pets.

And if you have a question or concern about your insured pet you can call our 24-hour Vet Helpline and speak to a qualified veterinary nurse.

This helpline is a free advice line for all new and renewing Purely Pets customers. The 24-Hour Vet Helpline operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and offers you an outlet for all queries regarding your pet’s health.

Find out more about the 24-Hour Vet Helpline here.

You can call us on 0333 332 6410 or click here to chat to us online now.

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