Frequently Asked Questions – COVID-19

In light of the current COVID-19 situation, we have pulled together a list of the frequently asked questions – which provide further information about the precautions all veterinary practices are taking to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Q: Are all existing appointments cancelled?

A: Following advice from the UK government, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA), we are currently only seeing urgent and emergency cases as face-to-face consultations, so routine and non-urgent appointments need to be postponed.  Rest assured that these appointments are those that can be delayed safely so please call us to discuss any queries you may have.  We will regularly review these appointment recommendations in line with government advice.

Q: What is classed as urgent or an emergency?

A: An emergency is when there is immediate threat to life or where there is likely to be a significant impact on an animal’s health and welfare if left unmanaged. Urgent cases are usually more stable, but still with significant health and welfare implications and a risk of deterioration.

If your pet is showing signs of being unwell or you have any concerns over their health, please contact the practice to discuss their signs and next steps, so we can guide you as to what type of care is required and when.

Q: Can I still get a repeat prescription?

A: Of course. We are here to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of your pet and are still dispensing their current medications used to treat ongoing medical conditions. Please bear with us as we may need more notice for repeat prescriptions than you are used to, and the process may be different in terms of collection or delivery. We may also require a telephone or video consultation in order to proceed with the repeat prescription. Please call us if you require further information.

Q: Can I still get worming tablets and flea treatments?

A: Absolutely. It is important that these treatments are administered regularly for the health of your pet and we will work with you to get your order prepared and ready. As with prescriptions, please bear with us in terms of changes to collection or delivery.

Q: My pet’s vaccinations are due. What shall I do?

A: In support of the government’s instructions for people to stay at home, we are postponing vaccinations during the current lockdown period. This is in accordance with instructions from our governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, as well as other professional organisations and major charities. For adult dogs, there is some leeway on vaccination dates. It is advisable to limit dog-to-dog contact and their range of outdoor walks during this period. Keeping dogs away from areas which might harbour disease such as water courses or areas with a high rodent population such as farms and stables is also recommended. Puppies and kittens should, as far as possible, be kept indoors and away from other animals until we are able to start or complete their vaccinations. More information from the British Veterinary Association on vaccine postponement can be found here.

Q: My cat or dog needs neutering, what shall I do?

A: As planned neutering procedures are not classed as urgent or emergency, we are unable to offer these in the short-term. In the meantime, it is important to separate males and females entirely and to keep cats indoors if possible. Please call us if you need more advice on the practicalities of this until we are able to neuter your pet.

The information and advice contained here will be reviewed and updated in line with future government advice and guidance from the BVA and RCVS. So, please visit regularly for the most up-to-date information.

Big Bear Award – Ralph

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

The heat of summer conjures many positive thoughts: beach days, picnics in the park and barbecues with friends. The long days of sunshine keep us outside for long times but it is also a time of year with a silent killer: heat stroke. This is something many people are aware of, particularly when it comes to leaving dogs in the car on hot days. Unfortunately, for a group of breeds called “brachycephalics”, the anatomy of their face means they are not able to breathe as effectively as other dogs. The term “brachycephalic” means that the bones around the mouth have been shrunk but the flesh around it hasn’t shrunk, preventing the airways from being fully open and allowing enough oxygen to be absorbed and for the dog to cool itself. It causes a condition called Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome or BOAS. Remember, dogs only have sweat glands on their paws so rely on breathing to regulate their temperatures! Breeds like these include pugs, English bulldogs, Shih Tzus and French Bulldogs. Continue Reading

Vet4Life COVID-19 Update – March 31, 2020

As you’re probably aware, from our last update, we continue to monitor the situation and respond quickly to government advice and the professional guidance from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and British Veterinary Association. As a result, we are focusing our efforts on the pets in urgent need of our care and are only physically open for urgent and emergency cases.

However, you can always call us for any assistance and we will advise you on how your pets can still receive the care they need.

Prescriptions

If you need a prescription for your pet or need a repeat prescription from us, use our online form or call us 24 hours in advance so that we can ensure it is ready for you when you arrive and inform you of the procedure to safely collect the items.

New video consultation service

We recognise that many of our clients are anxious about supporting their pet’s health while movement is restricted and we’re in isolation. In light of this situation, we’ve recently launched a Video Consultation Service – which uses technology to provide general advice, help monitor and update treatment for pets already in our care. In the first instance, we ask that you contact the practice and we will advise you of the best way to manage your request – which could be via a video consultation. Our usual consultation fee would apply – you can find out more by visiting this link.

Other useful information and guidance

We’ve also written hints and tips and things to consider while you’re at home with your pet. This includes exercise techniques for your pet, how to manage their weight and the importance of mental stimulation during this period of isolation.

The health and wellbeing of our patients, clients and staff is our number-one priority. The situation is changing daily and we’re reacting to this to minimise the impact from spreading this virus to more people while supporting your pet’s health needs. If you have any concerns or require any advice, please call us.

Thank you for your understanding and patience at this time. We appreciate the words of support and encouragement we have received and look forward to welcoming you and your pet back into the practice when we are able.

Meet Dr Stephanie Malone


Meet Dr Stephanie Malone BVSc MRCVS

British Veterinary Association guidelines on services during this time period

Whilst vaccinations are very important to maintaining pets’ health, we have to balance that against the current threat of coronavirus and our need to support the government decision that people need to stay at home except for very limited purposes, including travelling to and from work, but only where absolutely necessary. Continue Reading

Big Bear Award – Rory

Oh Deer! Not the easiest walk in the park

At Vet4Life, we are lucky to have some of the most beautiful parks in close proximity to us; notably Richmond and Bushy Park. These parks offer a wonderful oasis from the urban rush of London, transforming a dog walk into the kind of experience you would have in a rural National Park.

Whether you walk, cycle or drive, you may encounter some of the deer herds which inhabit these parks. Very much used to human presence, you still should keep your distances particularly in the autumn when rutting season occurs.

Rory’s story

One of our patients, Rory a gorgeous 5 year old Samoyed, had an unfortunate run in with one of the deers. After being initially seen by an out-of-hours clinic, he presented to Elle, our Head Vet at the Teddington branch, feeling lethargic and breathing abnormally fast. After taking a blood test to gather information on his internal systems, which came back as normal, we proceeded with the anaesthetic. Ensuring there aren’t any hidden problems with body systems which may negatively affect the anaesthetic is key because just like in humans, anaesthetics carry their own risks, separate from the procedures performed. Continue Reading

Meet Christie Brand


Meet Christie Brand, Registered Vet Nurse.

International day of happiness – how pets contribute to our Mental Wellbeing

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will no doubt cause disruption to our usual routine and reduce the amount of social contact we have – preventing us from doing some of the things we enjoy which helps protect and maintain our mental wellbeing.

With today, March 20, being International Day of Happiness, we thought we’d highlight the importance that our furry friends play in our lives as well as share some tips on how to keep them happy and stimulated during these uncertain times.

You can’t beat that fuzzy feeling of returning home after a long stressful day to be welcomed by a loving, attentive furry friend. Having a pet is great for our mental health, wellbeing and happiness.

Whether it’s the extra exercise we get from a long walk with the dog, the anti-stress chemicals released by stroking a cat or the entertainment provided by our rabbits – animals help to reduce anxiety, relax and generally just feel good.

However, it’s not just a feeling, it’s supported by scientific evidence. For a long time, researchers have explored how and why our mental wellbeing is improved by having an animal – considering the impact our pets can have during bereavement, for the elderly and even for people who are homeless.

A study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation with Cats Protection is 2011 found that 87% of people who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/pets-and-mental-health).

Due to recent events and the possibility that many of us will be in self-isolation, this will no doubt be affecting our mental health as well as that of our pets.  So, how can you provide additional stimulation to four-legged friend at a time when outside access is restricted:

You can exercise with your pet at home.

Why not try setting up agility activities or teaching your dog something new.

Play games with your pet.

Interacting with your dog or cat will help stimulate their mind and also help to strengthen your bond.  Consider something you could throw, drag or swing to get their attention.

Buy new toys and rotate with their existing ones

There are lots of interactive toys available for both cats and dogs which you could buy ahead of isolation – or even order online and have delivered. By rotating the new and old toys you will keep your pet interested in what they’re playing with.

Play hide and seek

Hiding treats and toys around your home will not only provide mental stimulation but also important exercise at a time when outside access is restricted.

Provide access to light and a window

If you have access to a garden, your pet can continue to get fresh air, light and exposure to different sounds and smells. Set-up a space for them by a window so they can watch the world go by.

Play Pup Fiction
Spotify have launched a ‘My Dog’s Favourite Podcast’ – which has up to 5 hours of ‘soothing sounds and friendly chat’ which is an ‘aural treat’ for your dog. Check it out.

Vet4Life COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

At Vet4Life, the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, our staff and our community is our number-one priority.

We remain committed to delivering exceptional care to your pet, while doing our part to reduce the spread of respiratory illness (in particular, COVID-19 coronavirus), including careful monitoring of the health and wellbeing of our staff.

Over the past few weeks, we have taken a series of precautionary steps at our practices in response to this outbreak, including increased cleaning, disinfection and access to hand sanitiser for our staff and clients.

Doing our part to keep pets, clients and our staff healthy during COVID-19 (coronavirus)

In addition to the steps we’re taking as a practice to protect everyone who works in and visits our practice, we kindly ask that you take the following precautions:

  • If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, had close contact with someone who has, or you’re experiencing symptoms (new persistent cough and/or fever), and your pet needs veterinary care, please call us. We will be able to advise you on how your pets can receive the care they need.
  • If you have been self-isolated with COVID-19 and have recently visited one of our practices, please let us know as soon as possible. This is so we can implement measures to protect our staff and other clients, some of whom are elderly or could be more susceptible to illness.
  • If your pet requires urgent veterinary attention, please call us.  We will be able to advise you on how your pets can still receive the care they need.
  • When you arrive, please call our reception team and they will advise when you can enter the practice. If you are told to wait, if you can please wait outside the practice or in your car and the reception team will call you as soon as you can enter.
  • Only 1 client should enter the practice whenever possible.
  • Please limit your time in the waiting area, and maintain at least 6 feet / 2 metres of space between you and other pet owners in common spaces.
  • When possible, schedule appointments in advance to not only reduce your wait time but also enable us to better prepare for your pet’s health needs prior to their arrival.
  • If your pet is hospitalised at our facility, we are asking clients to avoid visiting their pet.
  • If you need to change any appointments because you are in isolation, please call us and we will rearrange these for you.
  • We are following the government’s most recent advice regarding the measures we need to take to help control the spread of COVID-19. There’s provision at all of our practices for you to wash your hands when you arrive and before you leave.

Please contact us if you’d like further advice about caring for your pet over the coming months

LINNAEUS – Practice Corona Poster

Meet Amanda Skempton


Meet Amanda Skempton, Lead Customer Care Adviser