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Responding to Change

Responding to Change

We are all coming to terms with the “new normal”, a term that has entered our vocabulary over the last few months along with several other unwelcome phrases relating to this very abnormal period in our lives.  At the very start of the whole coronavirus episode, the veterinary profession determined to make itself part of the solution, not part of the problem.  These words of wisdom, coming from the president of the British Veterinary Association, came with detailed restrictions on the type of work vets in general practice were advised to do and the manner in which it was done.

Overnight after lockdown, the usual flow of animals and their owners into the clinics slowed to a trickle, only the most urgent and emergency cases being admitted for treatment.  Telephone and video consultations took up almost all of our time, helping to keep people at home but with access to veterinary advice, allowing us to resolve these cases and prescribe medications without a face-face consultation. This has been very popular with our pet owners and is something we will continue to use especially for triage and post operative checks in the future. We are using Petsapp for this service and if you feel this is of interest to you, please contact one of our surgeries for more details. 

The easing of restrictions on travel and the opening of shops and services had an immediate effect on our work.  In the space of a week at the end of May, our challenge was to cope with demand as the back-log of vaccines and less urgent cases started filling the diary.  The strategy during lockdown of minimising staff became rapidly impossible to maintain and so a way had to be found for more vets and nurses to work safely together in a relatively small building.  I know this challenge is faced by all businesses, large and small, together with maintaining the safety of clients and customers.  With due diligence on our part and patience by you, our clients, we will minimise the risk of coronavirus spread, provide quality care for your pets and still be part of the solution to COVID-19.

Now to other things… July is here and with no foreign travel likely for holidays abroad, we’ll all be on staycation.  For us, living in what for many would be a holiday destination, stepping out of our doors into countryside to walk the dogs has heightened the realisation of how lucky we are.  Many of you may feel disinclined to visit the local beaches (I know I am) but there are plenty of beautiful riverside walks nearby.  So I’m going to issue my usual words of warning, not to ruin your enjoyment but to ensure days in the countryside are stress-free.  With no rainfall in April or May, river flow is sluggish and water-weeds have flourished. Low river levels mean more muddy banks exposed, still relatively easy for the older, bigger dog to get in but getting out is much trickier.  Dense river weed can act like a net, catching legs and making escape extremely difficult.  

If we have had rainfall to make up for spring’s drought, keep your dog out of fast flowing water. Easier said than done if you have a real water-lover so plan ahead and use restraint before the tempting swim is in view.

I have touched on Tick Born Encephalitis (TBE) before but just in case it has escaped some of you, we now have this viral disease in Dorset ticks.  An unwelcome import from Northern Europe, TBE is rife on the continent and Scandinavia and can affect both humans and dogs. Transmitted through a tick bite, it causes inflammation of the brain and can be serious.  There are good preventative treatments for your dogs but not for you, although there is a vaccine available for humans (not free on the NHS). So check your feet and legs after a walk in the countryside and remove ticks from yourself and your dog as soon as possible. 

Please do call us if you need more advice on parasite prevention and particularly how best to deal with ticks.


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