The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has renewed its call for animal owners to respect their veterinary teams as practices adjust to new ways of working under national lockdown restrictions across the UK.
In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, practices have been asked to restrict their services to those which are essential for animal health and welfare within the current lockdown period.
This means that some routine work will be postponed, and appointments may be cancelled, as long as it is safe to do so.
BVA is asking animal owners to respect the clinical judgement of their vets and vet nurses in deciding whether their animals need to be seen face to face.
Any clients who do visit the practice must abide by the strict social distancing and biosecurity measures in place.
'This is a serious public health crisis'
Commenting on the situation, BVA president James Russell said:
"This is a serious public health crisis and it’s vital that we all play a role in stopping the spread of Covid-19.
Veterinary care is still available but it’s not business as usual. Vets are being asked to restrict the range of services they can provide during these new lockdown periods to support the strong ‘stay at home’ message.
"Vets and nurses may need to cancel some routine appointments or they may need to deliver services remotely, for example, phone or video consultations.
"Some practices may ask you to stay outside the building. This is to keep you and the veterinary team safe.
"During the first lockdown we heard worrying reports of clients being abusive to veterinary teams when new measures were put in place. This behaviour cannot be tolerated.
I’m incredibly proud of our veterinary teams across the UK, who have been working under difficult circumstances throughout the pandemic.
"Our message to animal owners is please respect your vet, listen to their clinical judgement, and follow the Covid-safe measures they put in place," he concluded.