During the past few weeks, government regulations on social distancing have changed many aspects of our work, and unfortunately how we can handle euthanasia is among them.

Saying good bye to our beloved pets after years of loyal companionship has to be one of the most difficult aspects of pet ownership. We always aim to help you and your pet navigate this process with kindness and compassion, and that has not changed. However, until the restrictions are lifted, we are very sorry to say that you will no longer be able to remain with your pet during euthanasia.

This was not an easy decision to make, and we have had to balance government regulations on social distancing, our professional bodies’ guidance on working conditions, and availability of PPE, with the welfare of our patients and personal safety of our staff and clients.

We cannot allow clients entry into the building until restrictions are lifted. It is also in vast majority of cases not possible to perform euthanasia sensibly or safely in the car park, even without the social distancing difficulties.

One option we can offer for dogs, is to give them a sedative injection in the car park, which allows you to stay with them in your car until they fall asleep. At this point we can carry them into the clinic and perform the final injection when they are already unconscious and unaware of what is going on. Unfortunately this is not a safe option for cats as they could be a flight risk, but we can sedate our feline patients within the clinic prior to the final injection as well (and often do even in normal circumstances).

If your dog or cat finds car travel or being placed into a carrier basket stressful, we can prescribe some mild sedatives for you to administer at home prior to coming in.

Small mammals, birds and reptiles are routinely anaesthetised prior to the final injection in normal circumstances, and that protocol continues to be in place now.

Please be assured that we will hold and comfort your pet in their final moments as we would one of our own. We shall do everything in our power to ensure their passing is stress-free, gentle, and painless.

Loss of a pet can cause significant distress at the best of times, and especially at the moment when the changed protocols may not allow you to say good bye in the way you expected. Many of us right now are relying even more than usual on our pets for comfort and companionship, to help us deal with anxiety and stress, and the loss of our pets may impact us more than ever. Please do talk to us if you are struggling, we shall do our best to help and guide you in any way we can.

If you need additional support, the Blue Cross, RSPCA and the Ralph website both provide helpful
bereavement resources, including a telephone support service.

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