Quiet, gentle and never blows open

Category: dogs

Are vets open during lockdown?

Are vets open during lockdown?

vets open lockdown

Rusty, the cat with at least nine lives

The simple answer is yes, vets are open during lockdown, but not in the usual way. Government regulations allow vet surgeries to remain open but with much reduced contact with owners. According to British Veterinary Association advice vets can fill prescriptions, provide food and sell routine treatments such as worming tablets and provide emergency care. This includes euthanising sick animals.

Usually a vet can’t write a prescription for an animal without having seen it, but this regulation has been lifted during lockdown. The situation is being monitored. Some vets are still offering routine puppy and kitten vaccinations, microchipping, and boosters. Neutering and nail clipping though are not considered essential and many practices aren’t offering it at the moment.

Alternative ways of ‘seeing’ animals

Many vets are using alternative ways of ‘seeing’ animals and their owners. This includes telephone and video consultions. If an animal does need to go to the practice the owner is not usually allowed into the building. Often an owner arriving by car isn’t allowed out of the car but will have the animal taken from it by a member of staff.

After treatment if appropriate your vet might ask you to send photos so that progress or healing can be kept under review.

What to do if your animal needs treatment

So what do you need to keep in mind if you think your pet needs to see a vet? Firstly not all practices are open, so don’t just turn up – ring them and check how they are working at the moment. Secondly, if anyone in your household has symptoms of Covid-19 you should not take your sick animal to the vet. Again, ring the surgery and ask them how they deal with this situation. Some vets do home visits in these circumstances, taking extra precautions.

Speak to your pet insurance company if you think you will need to make a claim. Many insurance companies don’t cover the consequences of notifiable diseases, and Covid-19 is a notifiable disease.

vets open lockdown

Rusty enjoying a sunny day


If the worst happens and your pet needs to be put down, what can you expect? It will vary from practice to practice, but Jen from Birmingham, one of our earliest Petflap customers, got in touch to share her experience when Rusty, her mum’s 18 year old tabby, was very ill.

Mum put Rusty in her carrier and drove 20minutes to the vets. She was under strict instruction to leave the carrier on the doorstep of the vets, ring the doorbell and step back to the marker (3m away) and then a very friendly and sympathetic vet nurse picked up the carrier and told Mum that she will personally cuddle Rusty until the end. Mum had put one of her jumpers in the carrier for Rusty to be held with so that Rusty could be put at ease by Mum’s scent.

Mum was told to return to her car and wait for her empty carrier to be placed outside the door. Mum spent the full 20minutes sobbing in her car until the carrier was placed outside the door.

So in this case rules were in place about what could be in the carrier with the cat – just one type of material eg a jumper or newspaper – and the carrier had to be freshly cleaned. The usual social distancing rules were observed. Apart from minimal contact with the nurse at drop-off all communication was over the phone. In fact this story has a happy ending. Jen again:

Mum went to collect the carrier and in total shock and disbelief, Rusty was still in there. The Nurse said that the vet will be phoning her momentarily to discuss. In pure amazement the vet had decided now was not the time for Rusty and instead took blood and gave her a 10-day antibiotic shot.

So great news for everyone, and we could all use some good news at the moment.

Can cats get coronavirus?

draughtproof pet doorCan cats get coronavirus?

There have been reports from Belgium, the USA and Hong Kong that cats and dogs are developing and transmitting coronavirus. Myth or reality? The issue seems to be that animals can pick up coronavirus/COVID-19 from humans, rather than passing it on to them

World Health Organisation advice

According to the WHO, the dog in Hong Kong that returned a weak positive for coronavirus likely picked it up from its owner. There is yet no evidence that cats, dogs or other animals can give humans coronavirus. At the moment the WHO advice remains to observe good hygiene, particularly careful hand washing. However it does include this advice about how long the virus can survive on surfaces:

“This could include your pet’s fur, so if you are showing any symptoms it’s important to minimise contact with your pet as much as possible.”

Its advice includes taking extra care when feeding and handling your pet. If you have concerns that your pet is becoming ill, the PDSA advises calling your vet.

What is Feline Coronavirus?

Feline Coronavirus, or FCov, is a type of coronavirus different from Covid-19. FCov is commonly found in cat faeces and doesn’t affect humans or animals other than cats.

How to protect your pet

If you’re unlucky enough to develop coronavirus you might have questions about how to protect your pet. The PDSA has published a page of questions and answers at this link.

There has been false information circulating online that hand sanitizer can poison dogs. Yes, your dog would become ill if it ingested a whole bottle of hand sanitizer, but if it just licks your hand when you’ve used hand sanitizer the dog won’t become ill. The alcohol used in hand sanitizer is ethanol, not ethylene glycol (in antifreeze) which is toxic to animals.

Canine Vomiting Bug

canine vomiting bugCanine Vomiting Bug

The Canine Vomiting Bug, also known as HGE, is causing great concern among dog owners and currently spreading into new areas of the UK, with the midlands and the North of England the latest areas to record cases.

According to Pet Gazette, The Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) of the University of Liverpool has begun to collect data on the outbreak. Any animal health professional who comes across a case of the bug is asked to fill in a SAVNET questionnaire. You can find out more about SAVSNET and the surveillance project here.

What is the Canine Vomiting Bug?

The bug is defined as acute onset “prolific” vomiting – at least five instances in 12 hours. The sickness is often accompanied by bloody diarrhoea. Affected dogs usually go off both food and drink. The frequency of the vomiting is one of the key differences between the bug and dogs throwing up because they’ve eaten something nasty on a walk. The vomiting also tends to be quite forceful. Dogs stay feeling unwell for longer than they would after a minor vomiting episode. Dogs can take up to 10 days to get well. In some cases dogs seem to improve for a day or two and then have another episode.

If you see these symptoms in your dog, expert advice is to get them to the vet as soon as possible for the best outcome. In extreme cases the bug can kill so keep an affected dog isolated from other dogs.


Animal vaccinations

Animal Vaccinations

animal vaccinations

Vaccination rates for dogs are down 25%

Animal vaccinations are a routine part of pet or stock ownership. Most pet owners want to protect the pets they love from suffering and possibly death from disease. A farmer or stockholder has a livelihood to protect and in many cases a carefully developed bloodline that their business trades on. Everyone has an interest in protecting their own animals and contributing to herd immunity.

The Daily Telegraph reported last month that animal vaccination rates are dropping. There is controversy at the moment about parents who don’t have their children vaccinated. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) compares this to the animal vaccinations issue. The Telegraph article refers to BVA research that shows that 98% of vets have been challenged about vaccinations by pet owners.

The animal vaccinations controversy affects cats, dogs and rabbits. Rates of vaccination for young animals are down 25% for dogs, cats by a high 35% and rabbits by a whopping 50%, according to the PDSA.

The law

The BVA suggests dog owners could be breaking the law by not having their dogs vaccinated. It cites the Animal Welfare Act and the duty of pet owners to protect their pets from pain, suffering and disease. Standard vaccinations for puppies protect against parainfluenza, canine distemper, kennel cough, canine parvovirus and leptospirosis. As with MMR, the UK is seeing an increase in incidences of diseases almost eradicated until recently. Parvovirus and leptospirosis in particular are making a comeback.

Groups are springing up online encouraging owners not to vaccinate. In this way the situation mirrors the MMR vaccination storm. Just as with the MMR, some dog owners believe vaccinations cause canine autism. The link between MMR and autism in children has been scientifically disproven. Similarly, according to the BVA, no link has ever been scientifically proven between vaccinations and autistic-like behaviour in dogs.