This is a really uncertain time for all of us, not least because it’s all so new.

We are working hard to find ways to make our services easily accessible to our community as it is at the moment, and to help reassure pet owners who are worried about the health of their pet and their family.

We thought it would be a useful start to put together many of the questions we are asked about how to take care of our pets during these times, and what the risk factors around them are.

We will be regularly updating this, so if you have a question that you’d like answered in the next update please email us at admin@wooltonvets.co.uk

We hope to share other useful articles and our response to COVID-19 as time goes on, including our new video, consults with a vet that will launch soon and our home delivery options. We know that this is one of the worst times to deal with a flea and worm infestation in your home, so we’re doing all we can to make sure there is no break in your preventative treatments.

If you know someone who might benefit from reading this resource and being kept up to date, please feel free to forward this page to them. They can also sign up for email notifications when new content is added.

 

FAQs

Q. Can my pet get coronavirus?

A: There have been dog and cat coronaviruses around for a long time but there is no evidence to suggest that pets can either transmit or become ill from the current COVID-19 virus. Two dogs in Hong Kong have tested a weak positive for the virus, but neither showed any symptoms. This just affects humans. Until more is known it’s sensible to be careful and maintain hygiene standards around our pets as well as humans by including no kissing, and careful handwashing before and after any contact.

Q: Is my hand sanitising gel going to poison my dog?!

A: No, this is false information shared on social media. Many hand gels contain alcohol, but not Ethylene Glycol as the posts claim. Alcohol isn’t great for your pet if a whole bottle of gel is consumed, but generally, the alcohol evaporates quickly and isn’t dangerous if licked off your hands, or their fur when they groom themselves after you’ve touched them.

Washing our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to keep clean, but if that option isn’t available when you need it please don’t let this false story stop you using a gel.

Q: My cat goes out and will be going across other people’s property. Should I keep her in?

A: Just like our hands, it’s possible for pet fur to carry the virus from person to person. Unless your cat is very friendly, the chances of them being fussed by a neighbour are small, and the chances of that person being infected even less. However, it makes good sense to reduce the amount of interaction you have with them, and always wash your hands before and after contact with them.

Q: Are you still open? What do I do if my pet is sick during the lockdown?

A: We are still open during our normal working hours and our emergency services are still open as usual during the night. We are, however, only seeing emergency or critical cases during this time to reduce risk to the public and our staff. If you are unsure if your pet needs to be seen then please call for advice and we can guide you.

Q: How do I get repeat medications and food during the lockdown?

A: Please continue to order medications and food as usual (either by phone or email). We politely request at least 3 days notice where possible. We have just set up a home delivery service and aim to have the orders delivered to you within 72 hours. The more notice we have the better so that we can plan our routes. Our staff will call you and take payment over the phone before delivery so that you don’t need to come to the practice. See below if your pet has a long-term condition and is due for a check-up soon.

Q: What do I do if I am self-isolating but my pet needs a vet?

A: We are only seeing emergency and critical cases at the moment but if you think your pet needs to be seen then please call for advice. We will make arrangements that ensure both your and our staff’s health whilst giving your pets access to the best care possible.

Q: What should I do about exercising my dog if I’m sick?

A: If you are self-isolating due to illness, then it’s best to restrict close contact with your pet. Exercise your dog in your garden if you have one, or just outside your house to toilet. Keep your distance from other people, clean any mess and make sure no one touches your dog just in case the virus is on their fur. It’s a good idea to set up a back-up plan now in case you’re unable to look after your pet for a while. Consider asking a family member, friend or neighbour if they would be willing to help for a while.

Q: I know we’re all in this together and I’m worried there’ll be a negative impact on some pets’ lives. Is there anything I can do?

A: Yes, unfortunately, this is having an impact on everyone including many pets. There are lots of ways you can help your community including donating pet food to your local food bank, offering to help vulnerable pet owners (if it’s safe for you to do so) by walking their dog or shopping for pet food for them.

Q: What if my pet’s booster or health check is due during the lockdown? Is there likely to be an outbreak of parvovirus after this?

A: We unfortunately have had to postpone all non-urgent, routine appointments (as per the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons guidance) and therefore boosters and health checks will not be allowed whilst these measures are in place.

Please do not be concerned if there is a delay with a booster vaccine, as they will have some residual immunity from previous vaccinations of between three and six months after the booster is due. Parvovirus immunity lasts even longer, which is why we only vaccinate against this every three years.

If lockdown remains longer than the initial 3 week period set out by the government, new guidance will be issued and we will keep you updated.

Q: My puppy/kitten hasn’t finished their initial vaccinations. What shall I do?!

A: We advise that you keep them in your property and not let them mix with potentially unvaccinated animals until it’s safe for us and your family to see them.

If lockdown remains longer than the initial 3 week period set out by the government, new guidance will be issued and we will keep you updated.

Q: What about my pets long term medication? I’m due a check-up – should I come in?

A: We are providing some leeway on chronic condition check-ups in the short term and prescribing medications up to three months at a time. If your pet is due a check-up, we may suggest this via video consult when available if it is appropriate, otherwise, we may advise that your pet does need to come depending on how long it has been since they were last seen, and what the problem is. For example, we can assess things such as chronic skin conditions over a video consult, while conditions such as blood pressure monitoring will still require a visit to the practice. If your pet is due a check-up, it is best to contact us and we can advise on each case individually.

Q: When will it get back to normal?

A: We are currently working on a three week period of restriction, after which the government and the RCVS will issue further guidelines. If the period of lockdown is prolonged then considerations will need to be made for treatment and monitoring of pets on long term medication, and also for puppy and kitten vaccinations.

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