We thought it would be helpful to share a few of the questions we are being asked at the moment. Please note that as the situation changes, these answers may have to change too so please check back regularly!
Will you be open throughout this pandemic?
We are committed to being there for you and your pets. We are following the guidance of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and work inside the practice is being carried out 'behind closed doors'.
If your pet needs to be seen, in line with government guidelines, to maintain social distancing, the appointment will be remote. On the day of the appointment you will arrive at Crediton. Please check in to our reception and then wait in, or by, your car. The nurse will come out and collect your pet from you. The vet will then carry out the consult behind closed doors and the nurse will bring your pet back to you. If you have any concerns you need the vet to check during the consults please let the receptionist know at the time of booking your appointment.
Why are you working 'behind closed doors'?
Over the average week, we see lots of different owners with their pets and our staff work different shifts, so that we can offer our services for longer, more convenient hours (including an out of hours emergency service). This means that our team are exposed (at close quarters – consultation rooms are not large and whilst you hold your pet, the vet or nurse may need to get pretty close!) to lots of different people across the day and then that is replicated across the week. If just one person visits one of our team, not knowing they are infectious with COVID-19 and passes it on, then our team could pass it on to lots of the local community or across our entire team, potentially causing us to need to reduce services, or even shut for a period of time, not to mention the obvious risk to everyone’s health!
A recent survey reported by the BBC (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52637008) showed that, under normal circumstances, out of a list of 359 different jobs, vets are the 9th most likely to be exposed to disease and the 8th most likely to get into close proximity with other people.
Therefore, in order to continue to provide as normal a service as possible, we have to continue to provide it in a very different way, for the protection of all our staff and you, our clients. We thank everyone who is supportive of this.
Our phone lines are extremely busy with limited staff to answer - please consider whether your call is really urgent. There are options for placing orders online that may help you save time.
Currently our farm veterinary team are operating as normal - please call the usual number.
Where possible we would be very grateful if you would use our online portal to:
1. Book a video consultation:
2. Order medicine or pet food:
Our new video consultation service is now live and the RCVS have temporarily relaxed the guidance on allowing vets to prescribe POM-V (Prescription Only Medications), without always physically examining a pet - this will obviously be on a case-by-case basis and we may still need to see your pet. However, this service will allow you to discuss your concerns with a vet, face to face without leaving the safety of your home, at the same time as allowing the vet to see your pet via your laptop/ tablet or phone.
Book your e- Consult here https://booking.vetstoria.com/5c6bf24f05243/?r=6#!/?step=1
My pet is overdue or due their vaccine now, can I get this booked in?
We are currently inviting clients to book their vaccines via text or phone call. You can book via our online booking system on our website. Please bear with us while we clear overdue vaccines first. Please avoid calling the surgery regarding your pets’ vaccine. We will invite you to one of our vaccination clinics as your pet becomes due.
In line with government guidelines, to maintain social distancing, the appointment will be remote. On the day of the appointment you will arrive at Crediton. Please check in to our reception and then wait in or by your car. The nurse will come out and collect your pet from you. The vet will then carry out the consult behind closed doors and the nurse will bring your pet back to you. If you have any concerns you need the vet to check during the consults please let the receptionist know.
Any new puppies should start their vaccination course at 8 weeks with a follow up at 12 weeks (we would recommend that a new puppy stays in its new home for a minimum of 5 days before coming to the vet, although do contact us if you have any concerns during that period).
Kittens require two vaccinations which can be started from 8 weeks of age; the second is given 3-4 weeks later (the 2nd vaccination must be given at 12 weeks of age).
Rabbit vaccinations should be booked for their due date.
Horse vaccinations can be booked via the Equine Office -01363 772860 Option 3. Each visit will be subject to an individual Health & Safety assessment.
My pet’s vaccination booster is due in a few months– will you have vaccines available or should I come now?
We have no reason to believe that there will be a shortage of animal vaccines. The manufacturers tell us they have a good supply and of course, every effort will be made to keep the supply chain open.
If my pet is due a repeat prescription check, what do I do? Will you give me a repeat prescription without seeing my pet in the current circumstances?
This will depend on your pet’s condition, the medication and how stable they are on the medication. Ordinarily we are required by law to see an animal every three months in order to prescribe medication – these are not ordinary circumstances and we will need to review any exceptions on a case by case basis. If your pet does need a repeat prescription check – we may be able to do this via a video consultation.
Are you still doing home visits?
We are currently unable to send our staff to any home visits. Please liaise with our team where we will discuss your needs on a case by case basis to work out how we can help. If you are in self isolation – we are happy for a neighbour or friend to bring your pet to the practice (as long as transferring your pet to your helper doesn’t risk you or your helper becoming exposed).
Are all your branches open?
No - currently only our Crediton branch is open. We are open Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm and Saturday 8.30am -1pm.
Can I still collect medicines?
Yes. We realise this is really important. Please place your order via our website for one of the vets to authorise. We will dispense the medication and phone to collect payment. The medication will then be left for you to collect from our show trailer in the car park, Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm and Saturday 8.30am -1pm
Will you post medicines out to me or can I still collect them?
If you are unable to leave the house for essential journeys, we are able to post most medicines.
Can I take 3 months supply of my pet’s medication?
Again, this will depend on your pet’s condition and the medication. Please speak to one of our team who can review your pet’s circumstances. Generally, it is still best practice to prescribe only 30 days of medications at one time (for some medications we are required by law to only provide 30 days). Please remember, if you are elderly/vulnerable or unable to make essential journeys, we will be able to post medications to you if you are unable to collect them from the practice.
Can I still order flea and worming treatments?
Yes - this can be done via the https://stbonifacevets.co.uk/content/medicine-request
Please allow 2 working days before coming to collect. You can collect from our trailer outside of the building, Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm and Saturday 8.30am -1pm If these hours are impossible for you as a keyworker, please let the team know and we will do our best to be flexible.
Can I still order pet food?
Yes, we currently have a very good supply of pet food on a daily basis. You can collect from our trailer outside of the building, Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm and Saturday 8.30am -1pm. If these hours are impossible for you as a keyworker, please let the team know and we will do our best to be flexible.
Please use or online medication request https://stbonifacevets.co.uk/content/medicine-request or email email@example.com as our phone lines are extremely busy.
What is happening at your branches that are open?
We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection within the Crediton branch, including contact surfaces, and all of our team are carrying out regular, thorough hand washing. All consults will be carried out behind closed doors.
Our reception is now based in the 4th window down the length of the building. Please check in here for any appointments. In line with government guidelines, we are going our upmost to maintain social distancing to protect the health of both clients and staff. Please bear this in mind when attending appointments or collecting food and medication.
Should I keep my cat indoors?
Please read the advice from the BVA regarding the article on the BBC news site today: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news-article/bva-statement-on-cats-a...
The headline of the BBC article suggested that veterinary advice was to keep all cats indoors, but BVA has explained this advice is only in relation to cats in infected households or where people are self-isolating.
Ultimately, you should judge how friendly your cat is with other people and whether he/she visits other people’s houses. Taking steps to ensure neighbours cats do not come into your house and not petting them seems like a sensible precaution for everyone. However, there are some considerations you will need to bear in mind if you choose not to let your cat outside at all:
This is a major change to their lifestyle that they will not understand. The stress can lead to health complications – in particular you should watch out for signs of straining to urinate, frequent small amounts, any blood in urine or lack of urine production
Rather than keeping them inside could you restrict your cat to entering only a small area of your house on return from roaming to limit risk.
If you decide to move your cat indoors follow advice carefully to try to make it as happy as possible (https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/felinelifestressors/bringing-cats-indoors)
There is some great information for cat owners on the iCatCare website (https://icatcare.org/covid-19-advice-for-cat-owners/) and the Ohio State University of Veterinary Medicine (https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/basic-indoor-cat-needs)
Can my pet get Covid-19?
Coronavirus is a term for a collection of virus' that range from the common cold to more serious conditions. They are zoonotic which means that they can sometimes transfer between humans and animals and it is not uncommon to see poorly pets in practice with a form of Coronavirus - for which we have strict quarantine and barrier nursing protocols in place.
There was a recent report of Covid-19 (the new, current strain that is all over the media) being found on a dog in Hong Kong following a weak positive test. Public health and veterinary experts in Hong Kong and The World Health Organisation (OIE) have been consulted and agree that the results suggest the dog has a low-level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission. The dog has not shown any clinical signs of disease related to the virus. It continues to be monitored and will be further tested whilst remaining in quarantine.
Currently there is no evidence of COVID-19 circulating in the UK pet population, only very limited evidence for transmission from humans to pet dogs, and none to suggest onward transmission from pets to humans. So at the moment there is no information to indicate that pets are involved in the epidemiology of the disease in humans.
This information was taken directly from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association website on the 12th of March 2020.
One of the major laboratory testing facilities (Idexx) has issued a statement saying that it has tested thousands of pets without any positive results seen so far.