Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update 6th January 2020 URGENT NOTICE - Cockburn Vets Skip to content

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update 6th January 2020 URGENT NOTICE


Thank you for your patience as we once again face the restrictions imposed by a National Lock Down. We want to reassure you that we continue to be here to help care for your pets and have put protocols in place to protect you and to support our NHS and other key workers during this time.

We have appointments available between 8am and 7pm Mondays to Fridays and 8.30am and 1pm on Saturdays, with our on-site emergency service running as usual outside these hours. Whilst we are able to offer all the services and treatments required to both help keep your pet healthy and to treat them when they are ill, in order to reduce the health risk to you, our clients and to our team,  and in line with the government’s requirement that everyone should remain at home where possible, we are happy, where appropriate, to undertake video consultations using PetsApp (please click here to find out how to download this app). Our governing body continues to allow us to prescribe medicines based on remote consultations, so following a video or telephone consultation we will be able to dispense any medicine needed for our patients for collection from the practice. If you are unable to collect the medicine we can post them to you. We are also able to carry out most post-op and repeat medication checks using video consultations. Please just let us know your preferences.

PetsApp can also be used to message us, send videos or request non-emergency help with your pet.

Of course we appreciate that video consultations are not suitable for all situations and where on-site consultations are required we continue to collect patients from outdoors. To reduce the risk to your health we would ask that you telephone reception to let us know you have arrived for an appointment and where possible remain in your vehicle. Please be patient with us when ringing as, despite having team members continuously dedicated to answering them, our phone lines are really busy. Please keep holding and we will answer. However, if you cannot get through please ask one of our team members to book you in or go into reception and let our team there know you have arrived. Please also let us know your mobile number (we may have more than one for you on our system) and keep the line free as our vets may ring you to discuss your visit.

Please do not come to the practice if you have Covid_19 or are currently required to self-isolate due to contact with Covid_19. We will find a way to help your pet remotely. 

When speaking in person with our team please wear a mask and remain 2 metres apart from them. When entering the reception area please wash your hands in the bathroom facility by the entrance doors or use the hand gel provided. Unfortunately we remain unable to allow you to accompany your pet into the consulting room, except under very specific circumstances such as where you sadly having to say goodbye to them for the last time. This is because we value your health and that of our team and feel the risk of transmission remains too high in these smaller enclosed areas. We are really sorry that this is the case and hope to return to a more normal service as soon as we are sure it is safe to do so.

Where possible please pre-order any required items such as food or flea and worm medicines so that we can get these ready for you in advance to minimise your wait. You are able to collect these from the reception area – please remember to wear a mask and to either wash your hands in the bathroom facility by the entrance doors or use the hand gel provided. Whilst payments for our services can be made in person or over the telephone, to provide additional security against credit card fraud we have also introduced payments through PetsApp and payment links on email. We would be grateful if you would pay for any ordered medicines or food in advance of collection and we are happy to send you a payment link once this has been dispensed and is ready for collection. Please just let us know which method is the more convenient for you. When making a payment in person please, if possible, make a card payment to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus when handling cash.

At this time our thoughts are with our colleagues in the NHS and key workers working so hard to protect and look after us all; those people who have sadly lost loved ones to this awful disease; those businesses who have been forced to close and their teams all of whom have sacrificed so much for the health of the nation; and indeed anyone affected by this crisis.

We are currently expecting further guidance from our governing bodies and will update this information once this has been received.



Although our region has now been moved into Tier 4 the measures we already have in place allow us to continue our services as below for Tier 3.



We continue to be open for appointments between 8am and 7pm Mondays to Fridays and 8.30am and 1pm on Saturdays, with our on-site emergency service available outside these hours. We remain able to offer all the services and treatments required to both help keep your pet healthy and treat them when they are ill.

As our region has been placed in Tier 3 restrictions and although we are happy for you to come into the reception area, we would ask that where possible, when you bring your pet for an appointment that you continue to wait in your vehicle. This is for your own personal health protection. Our vets will then come out to your vehicle to collect your pet.

Our telephones remain very busy, so if you can’t get through to us by telephone on arrival, please pop into the reception area to let us know you are waiting. As we take your pet’s and your health really seriously, after carefully considering the risks involved, we are sorry to say that we have decided it is still not appropriate to have owners accompany their pets into the consulting room at this time. We look forward to being able to have this happen again as soon as it becomes safe to do so.

We would like to thank you for all your patience and understanding during this difficult year.



With lockdown recommencing on 05th November 2020 we are putting additional measures in place to ensure we keep you and our team safe whilst continuing to provide excellent veterinary care. We are still able to provide all the services and treatments required to both help keep your pet healthy and treat them when they are ill. Medications and diets will also be available for collection throughout this period. Currently we plan to remain open for appointments between 8am and 7pm Mondays to Fridays and 8.30am and 1pm on Saturdays as at present. Should this change we will of course let you know. Outside these hours we will be running our on-site emergency service as normal.

Whilst you will be unable to enter the building during the lockdown period we will be continuing to treat all patients as normal with members of our team collecting your pets from and returning them to the car park. We would ask that, unless you are exempt from doing so, you wear a mask whilst speaking to our team members and where possible you remain 2 metres apart from them. All our team members will be wearing PPE in line with Public Health England and the British Veterinary Association’s recommendations. Team members will continue to change over dog leads and enhanced cleaning and ventilation protocols, in line with recent advice from Public Health England, will continue to be used inside the practice building.

We will also be continuing to perform all surgical operations including neutering. Where possible we will be able to carry out post-operative checks using PetsApp (click here to download).

In addition we will be able to provide video consultations for those treatments where:

  • reaching a diagnosis remotely is possible;
  • you are self-isolating either because you have coronavirus or are being required to self-isolate; or
  • you are unable to visit the practice for any reason.

We will be offering a ‘click and collect’ option for medications or food for registered pets. Medications and food can be ordered through  our prescription request page or via PetsApp. In order to limit face-to-face contact and to keep waiting times to a minimum payment for these items will be requested in advance either by payment link through email or PetsApp (click here to download) or by telephone. Once payment has been received we will arrange a collection time with you.

Please have a look at our Health Plans which provide worry free pet care through a range of options including unlimited consultations. Both Healthy Paws Club and Fleadom Delivery Club also include home delivery of flea and worm products. As puppies and kittens are growing throughout their first year of life and their weights vary until they reach maturity, although Junior Paws Club still includes all your pet’s flea and worm product requirements we are unable to home deliver within this plan.



Throughout July and August we will be running a vaccine amnesty. During this time all dogs and cats over 18 months of age who have missed their annual vaccine booster will be able to benefit from a full vaccine course for the price of a booster. As part of our vaccine protocol your pet will receive a full health check with one of our veterinary surgeons. If you would like to take advantage of this offer please telephone us on 01530 836654 to book an appointment.



We would like to thank you for your support during the coronavirus pandemic, and would ask for you continued support and patience as we transition towards a more normal service. Although, with client and team safety in mind, we are continuing to offer video consultations where appropriate, following recent advice from the British  Veterinary Association we are now transitioning towards offering a wider range of services. This means that we are now able to examine more animals at the practice and have started to perform routine vaccinations and neutering as well as other non-urgent procedures. As we are continuing to work with a reduced team in order to comply with government requirements for appropriate social distancing we appreciate that the service provided will differ from that pre-Covid-19. We have put the following steps in place to try to keep everyone safe when visiting the practice and would ask for your co-operation:

  •   Please telephone us for advice about your pet rather than coming to the practice if you have been asked:
    • To self-isolate because you have been diagnosed with coronavirus
    • To self-isolate because you have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus,
    • Have a new continuous cough and/or high temperature and/or have a reduced sense of smell and/or any other potential sign of Covid-19 infection
  • We would be grateful if only essential members of a family visit with their pet (where possible one person only should visit) as by reducing the number of people we each come into contact with we can all hopefully keep safe
  • Government advice is that washing your hands with soap and water regularly for a minimum of 20 seconds helps to reduce the risk of catching the disease. Immediately on entry to the building please either wash your hands in the bathroom situated by the main door or use the hand sanitiser available on the reception desk.
  • Whilst in the reception area please keep a distance of 2 metres between yourself and any other clients who are waiting. Floor markers have been placed on the floor in the areas where you should sit or stand to wait.
  • We have put a screen across the reception desk to reduce the risk to all concerned where the 2 metre rule cannot be observed
  • Please wear a face covering whilst in reception or interacting with our team.
  • Please where possible pay by card rather than cash.
  • We are regularly disinfecting surfaces such as door handles, work tops and card machines to minimise the risk of spread.
  • If you do not feel comfortable coming into the reception area we are happy to continue to converse with you be telephone.

If you are bringing your pet to be examined:

  • Please telephone reception to let us know you have arrived.
  • Our telephone lines can be extremely busy at times and we are continuing to work with a skeleton team to allow our team members to socially distance. If you cannot get through by telephone please come into reception to let us know you have arrived.
  • Unless it is very hot please leave your pet in the car at this stage.
  • Please wait in your car – please give us a description of your vehicle
  • If you have a mobile telephone with you please let us know the number as one of our vets may telephone you to learn more of your concerns for your pet, while one of our veterinary nurses comes out to fetch your pet. Alternatively the vet may come out to meet you by your car.
  • For dogs our team will ask you to swap your lead for one of our leads which are now over 2 metres in length.
  • For cats our team will ask you to place the cat basket on the ground and either get back into your vehicle and close any windows or to step back 2 metres
  • You may be asked to wait in reception for your pet to be returned to you. If this is the case only 1 person should come into the reception area and should wait at the point designated for them as ROOM 1, ROOM 3 or ROOM 5. Please ensure you wash your hands on entering reception and that you wear a face covering whilst in the waiting area.
  • If you would prefer to wait in your car please just tell the team member who comes to collect your pet from you outside. Similarly if you do not have a vehicle and need to wait inside please let our team know.
  • If you are waiting inside, once the vet has examined your pet they will ask you to come closer to their room to discuss their findings.
  • Please observe the foot markers on the floor outside the room door to allow appropriate social distancing

If you are self-isolating because you are in the ‘higher risk health group’ please see if a friend can bring your pet to the practice on your behalf. If you are unable to do this we have put protocols in place to reduce the risk to you, and would ask you to work with us to protect you. Please ask our team for more details.

If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or have been asked to self-isolate because you or your household may be infected please let us know. Please:

  • 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.
  • If your pet shows clinical signs, please do not bring it to the practice. Please contact us by telephone so that we can advise how best to proceed.


INFORMATION UPDATE – 28th April 2020

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association and British Veterinary Association have produced some advice sheets on the following subjects to help pet owners during the coronavirus crisis:

We hope you will find these useful.



We have received further advice from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association on administration of booster vaccinations during this period.

We believe that vaccination is essential to keeping pets healthy, but appreciate that given the current coronavirus crisis this must be balanced with the government advice on essential travel and limiting face to face contact between people to where absolutely necessary. For each individual pet we will consider a number of criteria and give appropriate advice depending upon their personal risk.

For dogs and cats we will consider the following criteria:

  • their age – vaccination courses for puppies and kittens going outdoors, and first year boosters for dogs are considered to be higher priority
  • the prevalence of each disease in our area – given the local prevalence of parvovirus, adult dogs where the last parvovirus vaccine was administered over 3 years ago are considered higher priority
  • their lifestyle – farm dogs, dogs that swim in canals, dogs used for shooting or for game keeping purposes, and dogs with regular exposure to wildlife may require leptospirosis vaccination if their last vaccination booster was over 15 months previously.

For rabbits:

  • It is recommended that all rabbits are vaccinated against myxomatosis, even if they live indoors, as flies can spread this infection to indoor rabbits.
  • If rabbits live outdoors, spend time outdoors, or their owners are going for walks in areas where there are wild rabbits, vaccination against rabbit haemorrhagic disease 2 is recommended.

If you are unsure if your pet needs a vaccination at this time please check with one of our team who will be happy to help. Please remember that for those pets who miss their booster vaccinations at this time we are working alongside our vaccine manufacturer to provide a vaccine amnesty once the restrictions are lifted, allowing their vaccinations to be brought up to date.



On 09th April the British Veterinary Association issued advice which will take effect from tomorrow, 14th April 2020. They have since clarified the information they initially provided in relation to booster vaccinations for dogs.  While we believe that vaccinations are a key part of keeping of your pet healthy, with the Covid-19 crisis reaching its peak in the UK and the current government requirement for only essential travel and for social distancing, the British Veterinary Association are currently working with the British Small Animal Veterinary Association to look at the different risk factors and most appropriate strategies for booster vaccinations in each region of the UK. We are presently awaiting this guidance and will update you as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime we are happy to offer advice on how to keep your pet safe on a case by case basis.

So what vaccinations will we be performing from 14th April?

  • First vaccinations for kittens which go outdoors
  • First vaccinations for puppies
  • Second vaccinations to complete a vaccination course

These vaccinations are included in our Junior Healthy Paws Club memberships.

Please rest assured that keeping your pets healthy is of paramount importance to us, so if you are unsure if your pet should have treatment at this time please ask one of our team and we will be happy to advise on a case by case basis.

Please remember that for those pets who miss their booster vaccinations at this time we are working alongside our vaccine manufacturer to provide a vaccine amnesty once the restrictions are lifted, allowing their vaccinations to be brought up to date.



In recent weeks we have introduced a number of new initiatives to allow us to support you and your pets during these challenging times.

These include video consultations, where one of our vets can assess your pet by video or telephone. The vet will offer advice and currently can prescribe medication or treatments for collection from the practice. If necessary they can also arrange for one of our vets to examine your pet at the practice. To book an appointment please click here. To help you get the most from this service have a look at the video we have posted on our Facebook page. These appointments are included in our Healthy Paws Club and Junior Healthy Paws Club memberships.

We have also introduced an on-line order page to allow repeat medications, flea and worm products, food or other items to be ordered more easily. We continue to deliver medications for patients who live locally for a small fee or alternatively you can collect them from the practice using appropriate social distancing.

During the initial 3 week lock down period The British Veterinary Association and our governing body, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons requested, in order to meet government restrictions and support the NHS, we should only perform emergency and urgent treatments. With the restrictions set to continue they recognise that over the longer term this approach may lead to significant welfare issues for pets. They have therefore revised their advice and from 14th March, in addition to emergency and urgent cases, following a ‘risk-assessment’ of each individual pet’s lifestyle, where appropriate, we will be able to carry out the following services:

  • Primary vaccination courses for puppies and kittens
  • Year 1 booster for dogs and cats
  • Annual leptospirosis (and if required, at the same appointment, distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus) boosters for dogs
  • Rabbit vaccinations
  • Rabies vaccinations where required for certification purposes
  • Neutering for cats where they cannot be kept indoors or if they are in mixed sex pairings/groupings,
  • Rabbit neutering for population control and to prevent aggression to allow them to be kept in social groups.
  • Microchipping, providing your pet is already in the practice for an essential service.
  • Flea and worm treatments

Once the government restrictions are been lifted, we hope to run a vaccination amnesty to allow those pets, whose vaccinations have lapsed, to be fully protected.



Following the statement made by the Prime Minister on Monday 23rd March 2020 due to the increasing seriousness of the Coronavirus Covid-19 crisis currently facing the UK, and in line with additional advice from our governing body, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons we are now providing only urgent and emergency veterinary treatments for patients.

These measures are being implemented to comply with the social distancing rules laid out by the government and are necessary to protect our clients, our team and all our loved ones and to help our wonderful NHS and other critical workers at this terrible time. We were saddened therefore that with immediate effect from Monday 23rd March 2020 we would be postponing non-urgent work carried out by the practice. These services included routine spays and castrates, adult booster vaccinations, non-emergency dentistry, and weight clinics. We are now extending this to include primary vaccinations and are happy to provide advice on how to keep your pet safe. These measures will reviewed as new information becomes available.

Our commitment to animal welfare remains paramount and we are offering video and telephone consultations with our vets and veterinary nurses, and where necessary examining ill or injured animals, to ensure we help you to give your pets the very best of care at this difficult time.

We appreciate that this is a very difficult time and we are taking the following additional measures to keep you, your pets and our team safe:

  • If your pet needs treatment please contact us by telephone both during and outside normal working hours – one of our veterinary surgeons can perform a telephone or video consultation and assess if your pet needs to be examined.
  • Video consultations will be carried out using Zoom or Skype, both of which can be downloaded onto smart phones and computers
  • If you are asked to bring your pet to the surgery, please remain in your car and telephone us to let us know you are here.
  • Please keep your telephone free during the time you are at the practice as the vet may need to telephone you to ask further questions or to discuss treatment options.
  • As clients will no longer be admitted to the practice building one of our team members will come out to the car park to collect your pet.
  • When our team member comes outside:
    • If you have a DOG swap the lead over to the one we supply
    • If you have a CAT, RABBIT OR SMALL DOG please ensure they are securely fastened in a ‘cat’ basket and set the basket outside the car and close the car’s doors and windows. Please do not put towels or blankets in the box. Please use a disposable material where possible
    • Please try to stay 2 metres away from all people at all times
    • The team member will take your pet inside will ask you to wait in your vehicle
    • The team member will then examine your pet and return them to you. Again as a 2 metre distance should be kept where possible
    • The team member will leave the medication by your vehicle
    • Please telephone the reception to pay for the treatment and arrange any necessary follow-up appointments
    • Please ensure you follow the hygiene recommendations made by the UK government on your return home; such as washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • If you are currently self-isolating because you or someone in your household is suspected as having coronavirus and your pet requires to be examined at the practice DO NOT COME TO THE PRACTICE. Please tell our team as we have measures in place to deal with this situation.
  • If your pet is on long-term medication please do not ask for more than the usual amount to be dispensed, as this could lead to similar situations seen with food stock-piling.

We appreciate that these changes are very different from the service that you have come to expect from our practice and are really sad that they have become necessary, however it is important that we all do our absolute utmost to protect human health, whilst still looking after our much loved animal companions at this very difficult time.  We would ask you to co-operate with us as we adjust to this new and very different way of working and we would again reassure you that Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a human disease and The World Organisation for Animal Health have stated that “There is no evidence that dogs play a role in the spread of this human disease or that they become sick”.

As this rapidly moving situation unfolds we will endeavour to keep you updated with any changes which become necessary. Above all else please stay safe.

Diane and all the team.

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