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COVID-sense returns

I am so excited!

For three weeks during the initial COVID lockdown I have been forced to follow guidelines that seemed to conflict with my principles to help any and all suffering animals.

But now, my profession’s governing bodies have negotiated with the powers-that-be, and we have permission to return to another new normality.

The British Veterinary Association has informed us vets that we can return to providing services “which are essential for animal health and welfare or public health, including to relieve pain and suffering”.

We have already become experts at providing veterinary care whilst maintaining social distancing and extraordinarily high levels of hygiene. And we have learnt how to assess cases using the phone, photos and video. This is not ideal, but if it saves a pet owner from exposing themselves to infection with coronavirus, we embrace it.

But from next week, we will be able to perform vaccinations again in dogs, cats and rabbits. We will have to assess each appointment on a case-by-case basis. But the risk of a massive outbreak of disease in pets whose vaccinations are out of date would create a terrible pet welfare issue.

And we must not forget that Leptospirosis, one of the core vaccines that dogs need, is capable of infecting people from their dogs, so we don’t want a flare-up of this locally!

We can also discuss a neuter, where not neutering would result in a litter and there is no other choice eg keeping a young female away from the boys!

And we can now discuss the option to remove a bad tooth if all other methods of care have been unsuccessful, and the pet is suffering.

This is all such a relief to me as a vet. But it may take us a while to get back into this new routine. We can no longer plan one vaccine every 15 minutes, with all the additional time needed for ‘remote consulting’. When you get your pet’s vaccine reminder, we will do our best to set them up an appointment, within 3 months of their due date.

And of course, if you are an NHS team member – just let us know – your pet will get top priority at The Mewes. 

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