On Air Now
Heart's Feel Good Weekend with Mark Wright 12pm - 4pm
26 March 2020, 07:45 | Updated: 26 March 2020, 11:13
Vets across the UK have been urged to lend their NHS-compatible human ventilators so they can be used by healthcare workers in the fight against coronavirus.
While they remain open for emergency animal care, many veterinary practises have other equipment that could be a huge help to the NHS, including monitors, anaesthetic machines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Here, veterinary doctor Claire writes about the impacts of the coronavirus crisis on her industry and ultimately, animals.
I'm a vet who works in a small animal practice in the south.
I graduated in July 2018 and have been working for 18 months. My practice has seven vets as well as nurses, receptionists, nursing assistants and admin staff.
We see mostly dogs and cats with a few rabbits or other "small furries", and we have a separate night vet team at our main site.
We don't have any ventilators at our practice as most general anaesthetics don't require them, so our ability to perform surgery isn't yet affected.
For example, yesterday we performed an emergency C-section on a cat, and we have had seriously ill animals in the hospital for treatment as normal.
Under current advice though we're only treating animals that are emergencies or likely to become emergencies within the next three weeks.
We're not yet seriously short on anything we need, though I don't know how long this will last.
:: Listen to the Daily Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
I think as this crisis progresses we will run low on some supplies, particularly as some of the drugs we use are also used in human medicine.
Unfortunately, some animals will die because of this. More animals might die because of the financial impact of this crisis.
It's tough because we all took an oath to ensure the health and welfare of animals, but our oath includes a commitment to the public as well, and right now that part is more important.
A lot of vets would like to do more - I'm told that in Italy vets are being used in human hospitals, and we are ready here to help our colleagues in human medicine however we can.
For pet owners I'd like you to keep your dogs on leads and your cats indoors when possible. I don't want to see cat fight wounds or dogs who've eaten something they shouldn't out in the woods.
Please be careful to keep common toxins away from your animals - lilies and paracetamol for cats or raisins and chocolate for dogs, for example.
And if you're thinking of getting a puppy or kitten right now, I would advise you put serious thought into it. They may not be able to get all their vaccines done at the right time and socialisation will be very difficult.
On a lighter note, a lot of people are going to take a great deal of comfort from their pets at the moment.
Elderly people make up a high proportion of pet owners and when self isolating for months I know their dogs and cats will be a key part of their support network.
I'm proud to be part of a profession that takes its duties so seriously and helps so many people, and I really hope we can continue to protect the human-animal bond.