Coronavirus (Covid-19): what measures are in practice to minimise risk?

387 Vets is open during normal hours for routine appointments and procedures, to see poorly pets and to give emergency veterinary care.

Given the stringent measures around social distancing and gatherings, the practice door will be locked to deter people from just calling in. All queries should be made by phone. To minimise potential for cross-contamination, we are currently only permitting 387 team members inside the practice, unless, sadly, your appointment is for a euthanasia.

For repeat prescriptions, please phone ahead if you are needing to collect. We ask that you give us 48 hours notice so that we can have your prescription ready for you. 

We have procedures in place for paying for and collecting medications to ensure social distancing is observed at all times. These will be explained to you over the phone.  Ask us about the option of posting medications to your home. Registered clients can take advantage of our parasite treatment free home delivery service.

We are following government advice as issued and are constantly reviewing our protocols accordingly.  We are being even more rigorous with our cleaning and disinfecting regimes to look after everyone’s welfare and minimise virus risk.  Payments will now be taken over the phone where possible to reduce the risk of virus transferral via the card machine. Where we do need to take card payment, we will bring the card terminal to you and ask that you hold up your card so we can enter details and process payment as a remote transaction to keep you and our team safe. We are currently not accepting cash.

Our team remain incredibly vigilant about hand washing and hand sanitising.

Understandably, during this time we are unable to offer home visits.

Coronavirus (Covid-19): what measures should I be taking as a client?

We have in place telephone and video consultations with vets to minimise the need for social contact to keep everyone safe. We’ll go through options with you when you phone.

  • If we feel your pet does need to be seen:
    • We will ask you (if you are well and are not following isolation protocol) to phone us when you arrive at the practice so that we can arrange to collect your pet safely from you. We will ask you to wait in the car while we examine your pet and will discuss the examination with you outside keeping at a safe 2m distance
    • Alternatively, we are happy for you to wait on the forecourt, socially distancing from others. A temporary shelter has been erected at the front of the practice as a waiting area during inclement weather. We kindly ask that you keep the access ramp leading up to the front door clear at all times
    • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), if you’ve tested positive for coronavirus, if you live with someone who has tested positive or who has symptoms or if you have been told to self isolate by the NHS’s Test and Trace programme, please let us know as alternative arrangements will need to be made.

Can I catch Covid-19 from my pet, or can my pet catch it from me?

The virus is generally passed from person by person by coughing and sneezing, and there is no current evidence that companion animals can spread the virus from person to person.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) states that there is a possibility for some animals to become infected with Covid-19 through close contact with infected humans. Several dogs, domestic cats and one tiger have tested positive for Covid-19 following close contact with infected humans. Studies are being carried out to discover why the disease is passed to certain species. It’s important to state that there is no evidence to suggest those animals infected with Covid-19 are playing a role in spreading the virus amongst humans.

If your pet is exposed to the virus, it’s possible that the virus may remain on their fur for a short period of time, just as the virus can remain on other surfaces such as tables and doorknobs. The British Veterinary Association’s main advice for animal owners is to practise good hand hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly (for 20 seconds with soap and water) after stroking, touching or cuddling your pet.

For pet owners diagnosed with Covid-19 or self-isolating with symptoms, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) advise the following:

    • Restrict contact with pets as a precautionary animal health measure until more information is known about the virus.
    • If your pet requires care, wash your hands before and after any interaction with them and wear a face mask if possible.
    • Keep cats indoors if possible, and only if they are happy to be indoors, and try to arrange for someone else to exercise dogs, taking care to restrict any contact with the person walking your dog and making sure they practise good hygiene. This is to reduce the likelihood of your pet spreading the disease through environmental contamination on their fur – there is no evidence that pet animals can pass Covid-19 to humans.
    • If your pet shows clinical signs, please do not take it to the vet but call the practice for advice and alert them to the household’s status.
    • If your pet requires essential treatment, call the practice for further advice. Do not take your pet to the surgery unless the vet instructs you to. You may need to arrange for someone else to transport your pet for treatment.

Click here for more information and advice for pet owners from the BVA around pets and Covid-19.

What are our opening times?

  • Monday to Friday: 8am to 6.30pm
    • 15-minute consultations: 9am to 12.15pm and 2pm to 6.15pm
    • Operations: 9am to 1pm
  • Saturday: 8.30am to 2pm
    • 15-minute consultations only (unless an emergency)

How much is a consultation?

Our consultations are 15 minutes long – 5 minutes longer than most of our neighbouring practices. Our consultation fee is £34.90, and related repeat visits are charged at a reduced fee of £29.90. Should your pet require medication, tests, further procedures or any surgery, an estimate will be given by the vet on a case-by-case basis.

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept cash and card payments (except American Express). We regret we no longer accept personal cheques.

If you are making a claim for insured pets, we ask that you settle your account with us on the day and claim the cost of treatment back from your insurance company.

Direct claims are occasionally offered, but this is on a case-by-case basis with a pre-agreed insurance provider and on receipt of your original policy documents showing proof of cover. Please speak to a member of staff for more information.

We accept Cats Protection neutering vouchers.

Do you see second opinions and referrals?

We are very happy to see pets for a second opinion. Three of our vets are additional postgraduate certificate holders having undertaken considerable study, research and examination in various fields of interest: Emma Goncalves in Feline Practice, Carlos Boix Boente in Small Animal Surgery and Hamish Duncan in Small Animal Medicine (dogs and cats). Hamish is one of just 200 vets in the UK with Advanced Practitioner status in this field. We will need to contact your existing vets for a clinical history so that we can familiarise ourselves with your pet’s condition and any treatment or tests to date.

We are happy to refer cases that warrant it or if requested. Referral centres will usually contact you directly to arrange a mutually convenient appointment, except in the case of emergency referrals where we will liaise directly with the referral centre.

Should you wish, it is your right to seek a second opinion at another practice, and this will in no way compromise our ongoing service to you and your pet.

Do you issue prescriptions?

Prescriptions are available from this practice. You may obtain Prescription Only Medicines Veterinary category (POM-Vs) from your veterinary surgeon OR you can ask for a prescription and obtain these medicines from another veterinary surgeon or pharmacy. Your veterinary surgeon may prescribe POM-Vs only for animals under their care.

A prescription may not be appropriate if your pet is an in-patient or if immediate treatment is necessary.

You will be informed, on request, of the price of any medicine that may be dispensed for your animal. Further information on the prices of medicines is available on request.

How often will you need to see my pet if they need repeat prescriptions?

If your pet needs repeat prescriptions, the general policy of this practice is to reassess an animal every 3 to 6 months but this may vary according to individual circumstances. The standard charge for re-examination is £29.90.

We kindly ask that you leave 48 hours between making a repeat prescription request and collection to ensure that we have your medication in stock and ready for you.

Am I eligible for financial support?

Free vet care: If you receive Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit, means-tested help with your rent or Council Tax and live within a PDSA PetAid Practice catchment area, your pet might be eligible for free treatment funded by the veterinary charity PDSA. Visit the PDSA website to find out if you qualify (www.pdsa.org.uk). If you are eligible, you will need to attend a PDSA Veterinary Practice to receive free treatment. The nearest PDSA is the PDSA Pet Hospital, Wolverhampton (Tuxford Close, WV10 0JQ).

Means-tested cat neutering scheme: If you need financial assistance to neuter your cat, Cats Protection run a means-tested scheme and may be able to help. Contact their neutering helpline on 03000 12 12 12 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-1pm), or visit their website (www.cats.org.uk) to find out about current regional and national campaigns.

How will you use my data?

We are committed to protecting your personal data and to storing this safely and securely on our Practice Management System. We will use your personal data to register you as a new client, to manage our relationship with you and manage payment for services provided. We will also use your data to contact you with regard to your pet’s condition should your pet be admitted, and to keep you up to date with vaccination reminders, appointment reminders and parasite treatment reminders for the health and wellbeing of your pet.

You can choose how you would like to receive communications from us, and can opt in to a range of communications around services we offer.

Please see our privacy notice for further information on how we manage your data under General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and your rights in relation to your personal data.

Can I access my pet’s records?

On request, you are entitled to copies of your pet’s clinical records. Radiographs taken on site remain the property of 387 Vets as x-ray fees relate to interpretation only.

How do I make a complaint?

We hope you’ll be very happy with the service you receive at 387 Vets. However, if you are unhappy, please do tell us so that we can work to improve our service for you and the rest of our clients. Do speak to one of our members of staff. If the person you need to talk to is not available, we will ask them to contact you, or if you prefer, please put your complaint in writing to our Clinical Director Hamish Duncan.

What happens if I have an emergency after closing?

Our out-of-hours provider is Pool House Veterinary Hospital in Lichfield. Should you have an emergency when we are closed, please continue to call 387 Vets on 01922 411755 and follow our answer machine instructions. The on-call vet will be able to advise you whether your pet needs to be seen.

Out of hours consultation fees (excluding any treatment) are as follows:

Weekdays:

    • Between 7pm and 11pm:
      • Cats and dogs: £141.28
      • Rabbits: £118.96
      • Rodents: £102.06
    • After 11pm:
      • Cats and dogs: £181.64
      • Rabbits: £162.22
      • Rodents: £153.01

Out of hours care on Sundays and Bank holidays:

      • Between 10am and 11pm: £141.28
      • After 11pm:
        • Cats and dogs: £181.64
        • Rabbits: £162.22
        • Rodents: £153.01

What overnight care is available if my pet has to stay in?

If your pet requires hospitalisation overnight, the vet will discuss care available to you. For pets that require close observation, our out of hours provider Pool House (in Lichfield) is staffed 24 hours a day, and night duty staff will be on hand to monitor your pet. You will need to transport your pet to the hospital facility, or we can arrange for a pet ambulance (fee applies).

387 Vets does not have staff on site overnight. If your pet stays at 387 Vets, the admitting vet and duty nurses will agree out of hours checks, but generally pets on the premises will not routinely be checked between 10.30pm and 7.30am.

Do you offer home visits?

Unfortunately, in the current climate, we are not carrying out any home visits until further notice. In normal circumstances, where appointments accommodate, we will always try to arrange a home visit, on request, between 8.30am and 6.30pm.

When is the best time to neuter your dog?

We recommend neutering dogs, females (spaying) and males (castration), at six months of age, unless they are large male dogs, where recommend castration at 18 months old. Research shows that there are no significant disadvantages to neutering dogs/bitches before puberty, that the surgery is simpler and that the animals recover much faster.

When is the best time to neuter your cat?

We now recommend ‘early’ neutering in cats – between four and five months of age – as advocated by Cats Protection. This markedly reduces the risk of unwanted litters.

What are the benefits of neutering?

The benefits of neutering include:

Females:

  • No further seasons
  • No unwanted pregnancies
  • No phantom or false pregnancies
  • No potentially life threatening womb infections (pyometra)
  • Massive reduction in the risk of developing mammary cancers (if neutered at a young age)

Males:

  • More biddable nature and easier to train
  • Less frustrated
  • Less likely to inappropriately mark territory (including indoors)
  • Cannot develop testicular tumours
  • Massive reduction in the risk of developing prostate disease
  • Less male dominance aggression and in cats less fighting and roaming (statistically entire male cats are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents and more likely to catch fatal FIV infection from fighting).
  • Entire male cats smell very bad!!

Should I neuter my rabbit?

Neutering your rabbit is important for behavioural and health reasons. Entire male rabbits can become be very aggressive and difficult to handle, as can entire female rabbits. In the females, this is related to their hormonal cycles, repeatedly coming into season and then developing false/ phantom pregnancies. Neutering also prevents again uterine cancer, which affects 80% of females before they are 4 years old. Read the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund’s ‘Neuter your bunnies’ article for more information/

Should I get one rabbit or more?

Rabbits are best kept as pairs or trios. Rabbits are not meant to live in solitude and have a deep need for companionship that can only partially be met by humans. Visit www.rabbit.org/faq-should-i-get-a-second-rabbit/ for more details. Rabbits do not always get along when kept together but once neutered it is far less likely for them fall out. Please be careful when buying 2 rabbits together – it is a very common story for a pet shop to sell you 2 rabbits of the same sex, only to find that one of them subsequently produces babies! The evidence actually indicates that the best pairs are usually a male together with a female, both of them having been neutered.

What age does my pet have to be to have its first vaccination?

Though you can start a dog’s vaccination course from 6 weeks of age we advise starting at 8 weeks old. Dogs must be at least 10 weeks old before they can receive their second vaccination but we advise waiting until 12 weeks of age if possible. The two vaccinations must be at least 2 weeks apart and no more than 4 weeks apart.

We recommend cats receive their first vaccinations at 12 weeks. They receive two injections which must be 3 to 4 weeks apart.

How soon after my dog’s vaccinations can I take it for a walk?

Puppies can be taken for a walk no sooner than 7 days after their second injection (unless advised otherwise at the time of vaccination).

Can I take my puppy in the garden before the vaccination course is finished?

The risk of your puppy catching one of the diseases we are vaccinating against in your own garden (as long as it is enclosed) is extremely low so we would advise that you toilet train and socialise your puppy in the garden immediately. Socialising puppies well is essential so we strongly advise exposing your puppy to safe, new experiences from an early age – please speak to one of our vets or nurses for more information and advice.

What should I consider before taking on a new puppy?

New puppies are absolutely gorgeous, but do be aware they require a lot of time, commitment and investment.  To make sure your prospective new puppy is absolutely right for you and your lifestyle, carry out some research on the breed you are interested in. Do consider things like exercise requirements, temperament, potential health issues that may arise … even how big your puppy will get! And if you have a family, how will they take to a boisterous (if cute) new addition who will grow bigger and older and become one of the family too? Have a look at the Kennel Club’s Are you ready for a dog? check list. Find out as much as you can before you commit to make sure your new friend becomes your best friend!

Where is the best place to source a new puppy?

We strongly recommend sourcing a puppy through a responsible breeder.  Responsible breeders will always let you visit a puppy’s home environment and see the puppy’s parents.  The Kennel Club runs an Assured Breeder Scheme so you know the puppies you are going to see have been raised to good health and welfare standards. For more information, click here.

Do be mindful that newspapers, pet shops and internet forums are all places where puppy farmers can advertise. Puppy farms are usually sources of poorly kept breeding bitches who have little social interaction, have multiple litters each year and often produce weak and nervous puppies.  These puppies may also carry infectious diseases such as potentially fatal parvovirus which can be expensive to treat.

Why should I insure my pet?

In recent years, veterinary medicine has become increasingly more advanced. We are able to diagnose and treat conditions that in the past would have been left undetected, sometimes with fatal consequences. But this more advanced treatment can be costly.

One of the hardest positions we find ourselves in, is when a client is unable to afford the treatment cost and the owner has to opt for a less effective treatment option, or a less effective treatment option. That’s where pet insurance can provide that peace of mind that you do not have to make these difficult decisions, allowing you to focus on caring for your pet.

Why is it important to choose the right insurance?

As with all insurance, premiums vary significantly and depend on a number of different factors. It is important to select an insurance policy that provides a long term commitment to the health and happiness of your pet, but is also convenient for you. It’s extremely important to get this right from the outset as in our experience, if you don’t purchase the right policy early on you may struggle to switch to a better policy at a later date. This is because changing insurer could result in a break in cover and may mean conditions you have claimed for previously become pre-existing.

Try pet insurance for free …

Why not take the opportunity of free insurance with Petplan? Activate 4 weeks free insurance for your pet and receive help covering unexpected veterinary fees up to £2,000. To start your 4 weeks free policy simply pop into our practice or to activate your own voucher, click here. There is no obligation to buy a full policy.

Terms, conditions and excesses apply and may be varied on renewal. No cover is provided for pre-existing conditions. Petplan is a trading name of Pet Plan Limited and Allianz Insurance plc.