We thought it would be useful to pull some information together on caring for our pets during this unprecedented time, and in particular, what we might need to consider should a beloved companion animal need to be put to sleep while the vets are only covering emergencies and implementing social distancing.
Although we at EASE cannot give any advice, we hope that the following current information from the government is helpful, along with any updates that follow on the government websites.
Defra’s advice for pet owners diagnosed with Covid-19 is:
- 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 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 practice 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 play a role in the spread of the disease.
- If your pet shows clinical signs, please do not take it to the vet but call the practice for advice.
- If your pet requires emergency 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.
GOVERNMENT ADVICE re: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for people with animals
Advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on maintaining the welfare of their animals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Published 27 March 2020
Last updated 31 March 2020 — see all updates
We all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
You should follow the current guidance and must stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
The following advice provides further detail for pet owners and livestock keepers on maintaining the welfare of their animals during the coronavirus pandemic.
There is no evidence of coronavirus circulating in pets or other animals in the UK and there is nothing to suggest animals may transmit the disease to humans. In line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.
Advice if you have symptoms of coronavirus and must remain at home for 7 days, or 14 days as a household
If your dog cannot exercise at home, you should ask someone outside of your household to walk your dog for you.
All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you must phone the vet to arrange the best approach to meet your pets’ needs.
Advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus
You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with walking your dog. In doing so, it is important that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside of your household.
All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you may take them, but must remember to wash your hands and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. You must call the vet before going to see them.
Advice for those walking dogs on behalf of someone not able to
You may also leave your house to provide care or help a vulnerable person. This includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self isolating or being shielded. You should remember to wash your hands before and after handling the dog and keep 2 metres away from other people and animals, including when handing over the dog to the owner.
General advice for all cat owners
You should wash your hands before and after any contact with your cat.
Horses, livestock and other animals
Advice if you have symptoms of coronavirus and must remain at home for 7 days, or 14 as a household
If you have a horse in livery, you must not visit them whilst you are self-isolating. You should contact your yard manager or vet to make suitable welfare arrangements.
If you have livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, or any other types of livestock you should arrange for someone else who is not self-isolating to care for your animals.
Where this is not possible you should ensure the basic needs of your animals are met. You must make sure you wash your hands before and after handling your animals and ensure you remain 2 metres away from other people.
If you are too unwell to care for your animals and there is no one to help, you should call your local authority.
Advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus
You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with leaving your house to provide care for your horse or livestock.
It is essential that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain 2 metres away from others. You should remember to wash your hands before and after contact with any animals.
If your horse needs urgent attention from a farrier
If your horse requires urgent attention from a farrier, you should phone the farrier to arrange the best approach to meet your horses’ needs. You and the farrier must ensure that you keep 2 metres apart and wash your hands before and after contact with the horse.
THE FOLLOWING IS NOT FROM THE GOVERNMENT WEBSITE:
IF A PET NEEDS TO BE PUT TO SLEEP DURING LOCKDOWN
We haven’t been able to find anything specific about this other than having a pet put to sleep for welfare reasons is covered by urgent or emergency vet care. However, while social distancing rules are in place, we need to be aware that it might not be possible to be with a pet during the procedure, and home visits might not be possible, especially if someone in the household has Covid-19 symptoms. It looks like we would need to phone the usual number for our own vet and ask for advice and information. (If your own vet practice has been closed completely, they should have arranged for another practice to take over the care of their patients during closure.)
It does look like Cloud9Vets are still offering home visits for euthanasia, if they have a vet available in the right area, and providing the government guidelines can be met: https://cloud9vets.co.uk/ (We are not able to recommend them from personal experience, but it might be an option for any pet guardian who would prefer a home visit to have a beloved pet put to sleep. The cost can be a lot higher than using your regular vet.)