Are vets closed during lockdown?

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Vets are key to keeping our pets healthy and happy throughout their lives, so many have been wondering if the new lockdown restrictions in England extend to our furry friends. The new restrictions came into place on November 5, and are expected to last until December 2.

Are vets closed during lockdown?

Vets are an essential service, so they will remain open during the second lockdown in England.

However, there are some caveats to this.

While some vets may be offering over-the-phone help as an alternative, they will remain open.

They are however encouraged to work in COVID-secure ways – which basically means having a little face-to-face contact as possible.

Vets are being encouraged to undertake consultations on patients via video call where possible, to avoid the need for contact between people.

Vets are also allowed to prescribe medication even if they haven’t seen the patient but have had a clear set of symptoms illustrated to them.

The Royal College Veterinary Surgeon’s advises animals that should be seen in person are situations which:

  • Involve food animals and the maintenance of the food chain (so most farm animal vets will be open as usual)
  • Are emergencies (such as a road traffic accident, a dog with bloat, or a cat with a blocked bladder)
  • Present a significant welfare issue and cannot be dealt with remotely

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The British Veterinary Association has also backed the opening of vets during lockdown.

BVA President, James Russell, said: “We are very pleased that governments across the UK continue to recognise the importance of access to veterinary services during these local and national lockdowns – for animal health and welfare, public health, and keeping the food supply going.

“However, as veterinary professionals, we all have an incredibly important role to play in tackling the spread of the virus so we must continue to work as safely as possible to protect ourselves and our clients.

“The latest guidance from BVA focuses on the clinical and professional judgement of our colleagues to assess whether and how clients can be seen safely, as well as considering whether they need to be seen in person.

“Over the last seven months the veterinary teams have worked incredibly hard to put safe working measures in place, including the use of remote consultations, so we are in a very strong position to get through the new lockdown measures.”

During Wales circuit breaker lockdown, vets have remained open for essential treatment and will resume normal services on November 9.

In Scotland, the devolved government has advised that vets are an essential service and can stay open in all levels.

Like practices across England and Wales, they must adhere to the usual COVID-safe guidelines.

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