Visiting a vet during the coronavirus outbreak

What to expect if you need to visit a vet during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Even though we're in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, this won't stop our pets becoming poorly, and it won't stop us worrying about them.

New guidance issued by the Government now states that face to face contact needs to be reduced significantly. Your vet will only be a able to see your pet for emergency or urgent care, and you'll need to contact your vet first to discuss symptoms.

All routine care is likely to be cancelled for the moment.

Your vet is likely to have its own guidance on how it's prioritising cases, but below is the advice provided by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Veterinary Association.

These are general guidelines relevant for all animals.

Services that may be suspended or delayed

  • Vaccinations, unless in a shelter or in the case of an animal disease outbreak
  • Non essential appointments such as nail clipping, weight clinic, puppy sessions, annual health checks
  • Neutering
  • Routine reproductive work

Conditions vets may assess with you over the phone

  • Mild trauma
  • Skin issues, including flea allergic dermatitis
  • Post operation checks
  • Repeat medication checks
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea in an animal that is generally healthy
  • Wounds
  • Dental complaints
  • Lumps
  • Eye complaints
  • Jaundice
  • None acute lameness
  • Anorexia
  • Non specific lethargy
  • Anal glands/scooting
  • Vaginal discharge

Emergency issues that may need a face to face appointment

  • Any of the above issues the vet feels needs a physical appointment
  • Severe trauma
  • Seizures
  • Significant weakness or collapse
  • A cough that has lasted for over a week
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble giving birth
  • Acute severe lameness
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Significant bleeding
  • Retching
  • If a pet has swallowed a significant amount of toxin
  • If a pet is struggling to urinate or defecate
  • Excessive urination or thirst
  • Vomiting or diarrohoea with significant mental depression
  • Ongoing treatment or monitoring of Addison's patients
  • Monitoring of unstable diabetics
  • Fly strike
  • Gut stasis in small mammals
  • Euthanasia

If you have any concerns about your pet, you should contact your vet to discuss the next steps.

If you don't have a vet you can Find a Vet here.

Alternatively, FirstVet are offering free virtual vet consultations with a registered UK vet at this time. The service is available from 12-5pm 7 days a week, until 30 April.

And the great news is you can contact them about any pet. You can find out more about FirstVet here.

Can pets catch coronovirus?

The situation is changing rapidly, but at at the moment there's little evidence that pets can catch Covid-19.

However, it's advised that you wash your hands before and after touching your pet.

This will also help prevent the transmission of other illnesses such as Salmonella and E-coli, from your pet to you.

Bought By Many's vet nurse Sarah James also recommends that you wash pet equipment regularly, and clean up faeces quickly where necessary. You should also avoid letting your pet lick or go near to your face to prevent any virus transmission.

Could my pet pass coronavirus to me?

The British Veterinary Association President, Daniella Dos Santos told Bought By Many that the current advice from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is that the main route of transmission is human to human, and that pets can't spread the virus. 

Her comment can be read in Bought By Many's article Coronavirus and pets.

What if I have coronavirus?

The guidance from Gov.uk is very clear. If you have symptoms of coronavirus you should stay at home for 7 days, and people living with you should self isolate for 14 days.

If you need to visit a vet during this time, you should phone them to discuss the best course of action.

Gov.uk have published guidance for pet owners and owners of livestock, on what they should do if they have coronavirus.

How are ExoticDirect handling coronavirus?

Your policy will cover your pet exactly the same as it always has. 

However, our processes regarding paper claims has changed, as we're now working from home. You can find out more in our article How are ExoticDirect are handling Covid-19