VETERINARY PRACTICES are to close their doors to routine appointments and remain open only for emergency treatments and to support the food supply chain.

This latest announcement by the British Veterinary Association comes in response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to enforce a stricter lockdown across the country to curb the spread of Covid-19. From henceforth, veterinary practices will reduce face-to-face contact between staff and clients as much as possible, prioritising emergency care.

The BVA advised that veterinary practices can be considered essential services under the current restrictions, however in the interests of safety and complying with government advice, vet practices should cancel routine and non-urgent appointments.

Vets are also insisting that animal owners comply with strict social distancing measures in order to keep clients and colleagues safe. For animal owners, this will include calling the practice ahead of time for advice and may mean waiting outside while an animal is seen and treated.

BVA president, Daniella Dos Santos, said: “It’s incumbent on all of us do everything we can to curb the spread of Covid-19 and follow the government’s #StayHomeSaveLives instructions. For vets, that means limiting our provision to emergency and urgent care and working to maintain food production from farm to fork.

“Practices are following strict social distancing measures and asking owners to make sure they follow the same steps in the interests of everyone’s safety," she continued. "Please call your vet before attending a practice to get up to date advice on what measures they have in place to safely treat your pet in an emergency.

“We appreciate that some pet owners may be frustrated that routine appointments are being cancelled, but these are vital measures to curb non-essential travel and contact and keep everyone as safe as possible during this challenging period."

Ms Santos concluded: “I’d like to pay tribute to all my veterinary colleagues across the country who are working hard to maintain their vital services, both for companion animals and in making sure the UK has a steady supply of food produced to high standards of health, welfare and safety.”