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Next Steps at Newton Clarke

Next Steps at Newton Clarke

As the government has taken its first steps in easing our lockdown, we all wait to see what the future holds for us and the containment of the Covid-19 virus. It has certainly made us consider our next steps as a veterinary practice.

We have operated a strict closed door policy to pet owners, with histories being taken often by telephone and pets being brought into the  surgery to be examined without their owners. I appreciate this has been a stressful situation especially for those of you with anxious pets, however, we have felt this is the best way to ensure your safety and the ongoing safety of our teams. The way we are currently working may seem impersonal but rest assured from the moment your pets enter the building they are affectionately attended to by a nurse whilst the vet carries out any examinations and treatments required. Please also take comfort in the fact that most pets are perfectly happy in a relaxed environment, often more so than when their owners are present!

As cafes, bars and restaurants have now begun to re-open and with leisure centres re-opening soon, we will however, continue to operate the same policy we have for the last few months throughout July and into August as we and the government assess the response to these new freedoms.

As many businesses are re-opening, the question may well be why are we not now following suit? The answer is, we are able to function very well as a veterinary surgery without owners entering the buildings. I appreciate it is a more time consuming process for us and often  ourselves but why put each other in harms way when so much progress has been made? We are getting ourselves ready for when the time comes to invite pet owners back into the buildings in a carefully controlled manner. The difficulty arises when we try to bring pet owners back into the consult rooms. This would mean spending 15-20 minutes in a confined space together, requiring PPE to be worn by both the vet and pet owner and then a period of ventilation and sterilisation of the room between consultations. This is just not feasible or viable for us given the current number of pets requiring treatment of an urgent or non urgent nature.

We would love to welcome pet owners back into the building and consult rooms to engage with you all personally once more. It would also be more efficient, allow you to maintain contact with your pet for the entirety of your visit and free up members of our team to carry out other important roles such as nurse clinics. We just do not feel this is the safest way for us to operate at present and the safety of you and our team is and will remain paramount. A case of Covid-19 at either site would not only put many at risk but almost certainly result in the temporary closure of a surgery.

Please be patient, we would not choose to work under these restrictions and would love for things to be back to how they were but our feeling is it is a little too soon. We all wait with interest as to what the next few months bring.

As the weather once again appears to be improving, please remember the effect of heatstroke on your pets – it can be life threatening and  often is. The risk of hot cars has been highlighted to everyone over the years and thankfully we do not see these cases frequently any more.
Dogs do not regulate their temperatures as well as we do, especially the brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs and Boxers; they do not have the ability to pant effectively to cool themselves down. My advice would be take all precautions possible. Avoid walks during the hotter hours, especially for the more at risk breeds. Try and provide areas of shade, even a paddling pool and you
can also get cooling jackets for your pets!

Enjoy the sun but take care.


Words by Mark Newton-Clarke


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COVID-19 Guidelines