Covid Update January 2021

Dear friend,

Firstly may we wish you a Happy New Year! 2020 has been a strange one and we hope 2021 brings some better news for all of us.

As you are aware, Northern Ireland has entered a new, and in some ways more severe lockdown this week. Like last year, the Executive has recognised the importance of animal welfare and have instructed vets to stay open. They have also named Animal Welfare as a permitted reason for travel, so in many ways things remain the same for us and for you in relation to your pets.

Should you require veterinary treatment at any time of the day or night, we are here for you.

Should you be stopped on your way to the vet, you are permitted to be travelling and we are happy to confirm this if challenged.

Last year, our governing bodies the RCVS and the BVA recommended that vets scale back their services to ‘Urgencies and Emergencies’. While we did our best with this, we sometimes found issues with defining what constituted an ‘urgent case’ during a lockdown with no definite end point.

As of Tuesday 5th January 2021, the RCVS has advised us to provide service when there would be ‘animal health and welfare implications if not carried out within the scheduled national lockdown period’.

Put simply, the majority of our cases are presented to us because of a client’s concerns about the welfare of their pet and we will continue to see cases in person, to the best of our abilities.

We have taken measures to keep our staff and clients safe and we are confident in our health and safety protocols.

There are however some services that can wait for a few weeks such as neuters and boosters. We will assess each of these on an individual basis. For example if your pet’s booster is only just due, we may ask you to wait for a month until lockdown relaxes. If however a booster is overdue or if a pet needs a booster for boarding/daycare etc, we will continue as normal.

For non-urgent services such as anal glands and nail clips, we may ask you to postpone. However if any of these issues is causing pain to your pet, we will of course address them.

Most importantly, we will continue to answer your calls, emails and facebook messages, so if you have any queries or concerns about your pet, please let us know. If you are reluctant to travel for personal health reasons, please let us know. We can provide remote consults if necessary and can advise confidentially on what the best course of action may be.

When you arrive at clinic, we will of course have our usual safety measures in place.

Protocols vary slightly between the three clinics depending on the H&S assessment for each site and for the staff members within.

Please do not be offended if we ask you to remain outside or if we require you to wear a mask. As well as being the law, these measures are for your safety as well as ours. We need to be able to provide our service and unfortunately a positive case among staff or an ‘in contact’ client will close us down for 10 days.

If you have medical exemption to wearing a mask, please let us know, preferably in advance, so that any embarrassment can be avoided. Of course we will respect genuine medical exemptions but we would ask you to be kind at all times. Our staff are just following the rules for everyone’s benefit and any verbal abuse will be firmly dealt with.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update and for your continued support. As we move into 2021, we hope to keep your pet’s wellbeing at the heart of our ethos.

James Buick
ACE Vets.