Help & advice

Coronavirus advice to animal owners

On 23 March 2020, the government introduced further measures as part of the fight against coronavirus. Among other things, these measures require people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes. Like everyone else, veterinary practices are seeking to limit the amount of face-to-face contact they have with others in order to comply with this guidance.

As the veterinary profession does all it can to maintain animal health and welfare in these extremely challenging circumstances, we ask that you show patience when seeking veterinary care. We appreciate you will be concerned about how the health and welfare of your animal(s) will be maintained at this time, and whilst practices will not be able to provide the level of care you may be used to, please be reassured that veterinary practices throughout the UK are doing their best to ensure veterinary care is provided where essential for animal health and welfare.

In order to assist you, we have sought to address some of the concerns you may have. Please click on the FAQs below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus advice for animal owners

  • Although veterinary practices are not required to close, in order to comply with the most recent government requirements, they have been advised that the number of clients seen face-to-face should be kept to an absolute minimum for at least the next three weeks.

    This means that they will only physically see your animal in an emergency, or where, in the judgement of the veterinary surgeon, urgent assessment and/or treatment is needed in order to reduce the risk of deterioration to the point where it may become an emergency in the near future (ie within the three-week time frame currently laid down by the Government for these measures).

    By way of assistance, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has issued guidance for veterinary practices on the types of things that are likely to be considered urgent or requiring emergency treatment.

    In light of this, please do not attend your practice unannounced. Ensure you call ahead so that the practice can make an assessment of whether you need to attend in person or whether treatment can be delayed or dealt with via remote means.

    Please note that some practices may be offering online or telephone services during this time, so please check to see whether these could be of assistance to you.

    Last updated: 27 March 2020

  • Your practice will be trying to avoid unnecessary risk to you, and to their staff.

    As such, please maintain at least a two-metre distance between yourself and others and follow government guidance on hand hygiene before, during and after your visit to the practice.

    In line with government guidance limiting contact with others, you should ensure that only one person attends the appointment with your animal.

    You should also be prepared to wait outside the practice or even in your car while your animal is examined to ensure safe distances are maintained. The consultation with you may then take place over the telephone.

    Last updated: 27 March 2020

  • During this period, practices will not be offering routine vaccinations, such as annual boosters in otherwise healthy animals, as this is not currently considered urgent (see guidance issued by the British Veterinary Association).  

    However, there may be some scenarios where your vet may feel it appropriate to give a vaccination in order to reduce a real and imminent risk of disease; this includes in the face of an animal disease outbreak, or in a scenario where part of a vaccine course has been given and the animal may be exposed to the disease.

    In this case, as always, veterinary judgement is paramount and your vet will need to weigh the risk of leaving an incomplete course against the ability to see the animal whilst maximising social distancing.

    NB if the Government’s social distancing restrictions last longer than the current review date of 13 April, this guidance may change further.

    Last updated: 27 March 2020

  • Do not attend your veterinary practice if you are self-isolating.

    You should call the practice so that an assessment can be made as to whether your animal requires urgent or emergency treatment and needs to be physically seen, or whether treatment can be delayed or carried out remotely (i.e. over the telephone or online).

    You should also inform the practice that you and your household are self-isolating.

    If you are advised that your animal should be physically seen, you should make arrangements for another person (not from your household) to take your animal to the practice.

    If this is not possible, you should inform the practice so that alternative arrangements can be made if possible.

    Last updated: 27 March 2020

  • Review any information available from your practice regarding coronavirus and the services provided so you can plan ahead as much as possible.

    Think about what you would do in the event that your animal requires urgent or emergency care in the coming weeks and identify any family, friends or neighbours that might be able to assist if you are unwell or self-isolating.

    Last updated: 27 March 2020

  • The UK government has recently published advice for people with animals. 

    The British Veterinary Association has published the following guidance:

    Finally, Public Health England continues to update its guidance on the coronavirus on a regular basis, which includes general advice on social distancing and how you can protect yourself and others.

    We will continue to review and update this page as the coronavirus outbreak develops.

    Last updated: 27 March 2020