At the end of March the veterinary profession was restricted to providing emergency and urgent care only, both by government lockdown rules and by our governing bodies (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Veterinary Association).

As of early June we are allowed to go back to offering all our usual services, including routine consultations/vaccinations/neutering. However, social distancing (and additional PPE and disinfection) must still be in place, which means that it takes us approximately twice as long to see one patient than it used to. Therefore we have to make some significant changes to how we work in order to be able to offer appointment and surgery spaces to all the patients who need them within this changed working environment.

The following will come into effect from 15th June:
– our opening hours will return to Monday-Friday 8:30am-7pm, and Saturday 8:30am-12pm
– the doors will remain locked and clients still may not enter the clinic premises
– all patients are seen by prior appointment, and this now includes Saturdays
Saturdays will permanently continue to be appointments only even after all restrictions are lifted
the vets’ schedule is changing: from now on Dalya will work Tuesday and Friday, and Stan will work Monday and Thursday; Wednesdays and Saturdays will continue to alternate; i.e. week 1 Dalya works Tue/Wed/Fri and Stan works Mon/Thurs/Sat, week 2 Dalya works Tue/Fri/Sat and Stan works Mon/Wed/Thurs
– video or telephone/email consultations will still be available for certain types of appointments (e.g. routine post op checks, weight clinics, puppy classes)
– all vaccinations can now be carried out – please note there will be 2.5 months of overdue vaccinations for us to catch up on, and the number of vaccination appointments per day has to be limited to allow enough slots for unwell patients (see further notes below)
– we shall initially have to limit the number of operations we can book per day as there is already a list of patients waiting for their surgeries to be carried out – routine surgeries may still need to wait a few weeks as we shall have to prioritise the surgery lists by urgency
– there will be 4-6 “drop off” appointments available daily (see further notes below)

Patient handling while social distancing is in place
Clients unfortunately may not enter the building while social distancing is in place. We are working on ways to allow limited entry into the waiting area, but you will still not be allowed into the consulting rooms as it is impossible to distance within a smaller space. For the same reason, you cannot hold or restrain your own pet during the examination the way you normally would.

When you arrive for your appointment, please either call us from the car park or knock on the front door. We shall come out to collect your pet – please be aware that we’ll be dressed in PPE, and some pets may find that a little worrying (though vast majority have had no problems with it so far especially if treats are involved!). Dogs need to be on a long lead, and cats and smaller pets in carriers. Once we’ve examined your pet, we’ll call you to discuss our findings and plan, and then return your pet to you.

Drop off appointments
As each consultation is taking longer due to social distancing and PPE requirements, we cannot fit in our usual number of patients; we may therefore ask you to leave your pet with us for a few hours so that we may complete an examination when the vet has an availability (there is catch up time between appointment blocks and between surgeries/procedures), and then we’ll contact you with our findings and plan, and organise a time to collect your pet. As it is not possible to predict when the vet might have a gap, please be aware that in some cases your pet may need to remain with us for most of the day. We always prioritise admitted cases by urgency, and shall aim to examine your pet as soon after they’ve been admitted as we can. They will be comfortable and well cared for throughout their stay. Please note that this option may not be suitable for very nervous/stressed patients unless it’s an emergency.

Dogs and cats are allowed to be up to 3 months overdue on their annual vaccinations without losing protection. At this stage we have 2.5 months of delayed vaccines to catch up on, in addition to operations which have been delayed, on top of our usual day to day level of work. In order to ensure that no pet goes longer that 3 months late on their vaccination, we shall prioritise those vaccines which have been delayed.

We have a system in place which will allow us to catch up on all vaccinations by October 2020, without allowing any pet to lose protection. You will receive either a postcard reminder or a telephone call when your pet’s turn comes in the priority queue. The catch up system will mean that pets who are due in June/July/August will receive their reminders later than expected, but please rest assured that their protection will not lapse. When you do receive your vaccination reminder, please respond promptly.

Dalya and Stan