Following the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions we are now opening all our branches across the group. We look forward to welcoming you back and helping with your pet’s healthcare, however it is still very important we maintain controls on close contact to reduce the ongoing risk of spreading COVID 19.
Some of our branches are offering reduced opening times, and these are subject to change on a weekly basis. If you are concerned about your pet, need some advice or would like to make an appointment please call your usual branch number.
Telephone calls are still being handled centrally rather than at individual branches. When we are busy on other calls, we are also using an external telephone answering service so that your call is always answered.
We continue to offer telemedicine consultations with a vet by phone or video call. This may be particularly useful for those in the vulnerable category who are worried about their pet or for routine queries. These consultations are charged at our normal consultation cost, but if we decide it is best to see your pet we will not charge any extra.
We are now able to offer more and more face to face consultations, with appropriate safety measures in place to minimize direct contact. In general this means we will ask you to wait in the car and a nurse will collect your pet for the vet to examine in the clinic. We can then call your mobile to discuss what we have found.
Please see below for more information on COVID 19 and the services we are offering:
COVID FAQs (June 2020)
Can my pet give me COVID19?
No, there is no evidence that says your pet can infect you with the COVID19 virus.
The biggest risk to you is another person with the virus so you need to follow the government recommendations of social distancing and washing your hands.
We advise that you wash your hands before and after playing with and feeding your pet, and that you don’t touch anyone else’s pet.
Can animals get infected with COVID19 virus?
A very small number of animals have tested positive for the virus. They have always been in contact with a person with COVID19. We don’t think that they can spread the virus.
They are, however, like any other ‘surface’ (e.g. a door handle or shopping trolley) so if they are touched by an infected person they could carry it on their fur. So, please wash your hands before and after handling them to keep yourself safe.
Do I need to keep my cat inside?
No, if your cat usually goes outside then it may harm their health and welfare if you shut them inside.
What will happen when I phone the practice?
A member of our team will answer your phone call. As normal they will ask for details about your pets’ problem and help you as necessary. If our phones are busy your call will be answered by our external telephone answering service. They are able to deal with most queries including make appointments and handle emergency calls.
If your pet is unwell you may be offered an appointment at a branch, or a telemedicine appointment. Please note that depending on the nature of the problem you may be asked to attend a different branch than your normal practice.
Preparing for a tele-medicine appointment
It is helpful if you can gather some basic information about your pet, such as its heart rate
In some situations, you might be asked to send photos/videos of your pet before the consultation. If this is the case please send them to email@example.com as soon as you can, so the vet has time to look at them before your appointment.
We can also arrange for telemedicine over Skype and Zoom: for Skype you will need to send us your phone number that the Skype account is connected to. For Zoom, we are able to send you an email or text message with a link, and you will need to download an app.
The vet will ask about the issue you are concerned about regarding your pet and will then ask any additional questions that might be helpful. They then might ask you to feel or look at certain areas of your pet to help them get more information about the problem. Please don’t be concerned if you are unable to do this. We appreciate that you are not trained but telling the vet for example if an area is hot, might be useful.
Our Veterinary Nurse Alice has produced a helpful guide showing how to look for when examining your pet at home:
The vet will then conduct the tele-medicine appointment at the time booked.
If your pet needs some medication, if your appointment was before 2pm we will arrange to deliver it to you. If it is after 2pm we may require you to collect it from Wimborne or we can deliver the following day. There is a £6 surcharge for urgent deliveries.
At the end of the telemedicine appointment, if the vet thinks that they need to see your pet, then they will arrange a time to see you and your pet and which branch is appropriate: if it is likely your pet may need to be hospitalised then you will be directed to our Wimborne clinic. If the vet decides your pet needs to be seen there is no additional consultation fee.
Payment for telemedicine appointments will be taken over the phone after the appointment.
Telemedicine Consultations £49.50
Follow up Telemedicine Consultations £45.00
Procedures for coming to practice
Please do not turn up at the practice without having first phoned.
If you think you have covid 19 and are currently isolating or have a temperature or have developed a cough please do not come to the surgery.
Please restrict the number of people that come to the practice. Ideally only 1 person per appointment.
For an Appointment
Please wait in your car. A member of our staff will come and collect your pet. For cats we will pick up the cat basket, for dogs we will use one of our leads. Once this is in place, we will ask you to remove your lead, whilst maintaining as much distance from you as possible.
Once our team has examined your pet, we will phone you in your car and explain what we have found and discuss the treatment options as we normally do.
Out of hours please phone vets now as usual. They will discuss over the phone if they require you to bring your pet to Wimborne to be seen.
For more information click on https://www.vets-now.com/2020/03/providing-care-during-covid-19/
Delivery of Medications and Pet Food
We have started a delivery service to minimise unnecessary travel to the surgery. Please phone us to order your pets’ prescription and allow 7 days for us to order and deliver your pets medication.
There will be a charge of £4 for this service unless you are a member of our Pet Health Plan, where standard deliveries are free. There is a £6 surcharge for urgent deliveries.
During the lockdown many essential vaccinations were delayed. For most there is a safe window of up to three months overdue, which means we are now needing to clear thebacklog of vaccinations. Please call the practice if you think you are in this category. We are prioritising the most at risk groups first but gradually hope to deal with all due vaccines within the next two months.
Puppies and Kittens
For puppies and kittens your pet will be susceptible to the diseases that they would normally be vaccinated against. It is therefore important that you do not let your kitten outside until it has had its vaccinations.
Puppies should only be allowed in your garden. There is a slight risk that they could pick up a disease from outside, but it is also really important that your puppy is socialised while it is still young. For more information on this please click on this link
Adult Dogs and Cats
Your dog or cat will still be protected if they have their booster a couple of months late, and for many diseases for longer.
The protection against leptospirosis, known as Weil’s disease in people, is the disease that needs most frequent boosters. It is a bacterium that is found in the urine of infected animals. To minimize the risk of infection don’t let your dog swim or drink standing water when outside.
Cat flu is transmitted by an infected cat shedding the virus in its saliva, eye and nasal discharge and the virus can be spread by contaminated clothes, food bowls, toys etc.
Feline leukemia is mainly spread when a comes into contact with an infected cat’s saliva or blood, and to a lesser extent urine and faeces. It only survives on the coat for a few hours.
If your kitten is not vaccinated it is best to keep them indoors until we are able to give these. The cat flu vaccine we are currently using has very good protection for up to three years: if you are in any doubt please call the practice so we can discuss the risks.
Myxomatosis is spread by biting insects such as fleas, mites and mosquitos. You can minimize the risk from these insects by making sure there are no areas of stagnant water in your garden and using a mosquito proof guard on the hutch. Also avoid putting your rabbit on the lawn at dawn and dust when there are more of these insects around.
Viral hemorrhagic disease is spread from wild rabbits. It is therefore really important keep your pet rabbit away from any place where a wild rabbit might have been. The virus can live for a long time on grass, concrete etc too.
Prescriptions for Long Term Medications
Before Covid 19 if your pet hadn’t been seen for 6 months and required some more medication, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons required us to examine your pet before we could prescribe their medication. Please call the surgery to discuss your own pet’s particular situation.
Flea and Worm Treatment
It is really important to keep you pet well. If you need more flea or worm treatment for your pet, please phone the practice and we can arrange a delivery for you. Please do not make a journey to the surgery to collect this.
Normally we need to have seen your pet in the last year to prescribe this treatment. Until further notice during the period of lock down, there is flexibility about this, so please call the practice to discuss.
As our work returns to normal we haveincreasing availability to perform routine neutering operations. This will also include keyhole spaying using the laparoscopy equipment at our Wimborne branch- please call for details.
At the moment we will not be running weight-watchers’ clinics.
Please continue to feed your pet as you were advised at your last appointment. If you are not able to walk your dog as often due to the restrictions, you might need to reduce their food a little.
Pet Health Plan
Flea and worm treatment is included in the Plan and you should continue to administer this. If you need more, then call the practice and we will arrange a delivery for you. For members of our PHP there is no delivery charge except if the delivery is urgent (£6).
If your pet requires to be admitted, this will be undertaken at Wimborne where there is a fully staffed 24/7 emergency service. We will phone you at least twice a day to keep you updated on your pet’s progress. Unfortunately, we will not be allowing anybody to visit their pets while they are in-patients but we would be happy to send you photographs of them. To minimise the spread of covid 19 we cannot accept any toys, blankets or other belongings to accompany your pet. Cats should be in a plain cat carrier with just newspaper for bedding. Dog collars can be removed as we supply hospital collars and slip leads.
Sadly, despite our best efforts we are not able to save every pet that is brought to us. In this sad situation we would like to let you know we will do everything we can in the current situation, so that you can say goodbye to your pet.
If your pet has been an in-patient, we will allow you to spend some time with them to say goodbye, providing you are not isolating due to covid 19.
Before the time comes, we will discuss with you on the phone the various options.
If you would like to stay with your pet, this is possible. First, we will collect your pet from your car as we do for other appointments. Our team will then place a catheter into your pets’ vein. If your pet is an in-patient, they probably will already have one in place. We will then connect a ‘drip-line’ to this. A member of our team will then inform you to come into the consulting room, sign the consent form and then when you are ready, from a distance, the anaesthetic drug will be injected into the drip-line. You may then stay with your pet afterwards, for as long as you would like to. On some occasions it may be possible to do this in your own car.
Our team will be wearing protective clothing to protect them and you.
If you would like us to arrange for your pet to be cremated we can arrange that for you, and if you choose to have your pets ashes returned, at an appropriate time we will arrange for them to be delivered back to you (at no extra charge)
What our Staff will be Wearing when they have Contact with You
Depending on the amount of contact our staff are expecting to have with you, they maybe wearing a mask, gloves, hat, and full protective gown. This is for both you and their protection.
How to Keep your Pets Safe, Happy and Healthy
It is important that we try and keep our pets safe, happy and healthy. Things you might think about are listed below.
Some dogs require a lot of exercise. If there more than 1 member of your household, consider taking your 1 period of exercise separately so that your dog can go out several times. Consider keeping your dog on a lead to minimise the chances of a road traffic accident or it hurting itself on barbed wire, or brambles.
It is not just physical exercise that is important it is also mental exercise too. Scatter your dog’s food on the lawn so it has to hunt for it, rather than eating it out of a bowl, teach it some new tricks or play some games.
Take a look at the following links to help stimulate your dog’s mind.
Cats and kittens need stimulation too. It is important with cats and kittens not to encourage them to play with your hands. Play with them away from you, using fishing rod type toys.
Entertaining your Pet
Blue cross for dogs
Cats protection link
It is really important to care for your pets’ teeth. If you have a bit more time, now is a perfect time to get them used to having their teeth cleaned.
You must use pet tooth paste that you can get from a pet shop, or we can arrange to have some delivered or sent to you. A soft human toothbrush is ok to use.
Start by introducing the tooth paste into their mouth, and then slowly start introducing the toothbrush. You want it to be a pleasant experience so take several days to a week. Ideally you should clean your pet’s teeth once a day
Some cats will not tolerate having their teeth cleaned and whatever you do take care not to get bitten!
With all the changes in routine that will have happened with the current lockdown, your pet may be feeling anxious. They are a few things you can do to help this.
A stressed or bored dog might become destructive, bad tempered to people or other pets or they might pester you more, for example by barking or scrapping at the door. Make sure they have a place where they can go, so they are not being pestered by children that are not at school, or other pets. If they have been crate-trained, they might like to go in a crate. Covering the crate with blankets can make it more secure and more of a den for them.
Make sure they have enough physical and mental stimulation to prevent them becoming bored. Adaptil, Pet Remedy or other calming products may help. If you think your dog is very anxious contact us for help and please be aware that a change in your dogs’ behaviour may be due to an underlying medical condition.
Cats generally do not like change. Moving a chair can be really stressful for some cats. When anxious cats may hide, or may start having inappropriate toileting behaviour, for example spraying inside. Some cats might over-groom, start eating clothing or develop cystitis as a result of stress. If you cat shows problems urinating it is really important to contact the vet. In male cats this can be a life-threatening problem.
To help with anxiety allow the cat to hide if it wants to. Do not force it to play if it doesn’t want to. Make hiding places for your cat, particularly up high if you can. Consider using Feliway, Pet Remedy or other calming products. If you are concerned about your cat, please contact us for help and please be aware that your cat’s behaviour may be due to an underlying medical condition.
As prey animals’ rabbits can easily become stressed. Avoid sudden changes to your rabbit’s routine. To keep your rabbit healthy, it is important that they have some exercise each day.
If you have a house rabbit, be aware that having more people at home due to isolation, might be stressful for your rabbit. Signs of stress include, thumping their back feet, being twitchy and jumpy and unusually aggressive or difficult to handle. Make sure your rabbit is in a quieter part of the house and has places to hide. Please be aware that a change in your rabbits’ behaviour may be due to an underlying medical condition.
Obesity is a huge problem for pets. If your pet is having less exercise than normal, please reduce their food intake to compensate. Weighing their food out with scales helps. Different people might be feeding your pet with more people at home and everyone’s cup full of food maybe slightly different.
It is lovely to give titbits but with more people at home your pet may get more than they need. If you measure out their daily food allowance each day and put it on the side, members of the family can give titbits from that allowance. Once it is gone, your pet gets no more. This is a good way to stop your pet becoming overweight when there are extra people around.