Non-urgent veterinary appointments on hold until COVID-19 levels reduce

While veterinarians are still providing care and treatment for animals during lockdown, it’s far from business as usual.

According to two of Aotearoa’s key veterinary organisations, the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ) and the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), COVID-19 restrictions have changed how animals, as well as people, receive healthcare.

“Under Alert Level 4 restrictions, veterinarians can only provide care that can’t be postponed,” according to the Council’s Veterinary Advisor Dr Seton Butler. “As a result, non-urgent healthcare, routine vaccinations and regular checks need to be postponed until the situation changes.”

VCNZ and NZVA are both giving this advice, based on Government guidance and local and international evidence.

“If you’re following COVID-19 rules and staying at home, there should be no serious effects on your animal’s health by having these routine procedures postponed by a few weeks,” Dr Butler says.  “If you are concerned about delaying an appointment or unsure if your animal needs urgent veterinary care, you should always call your veterinary practice for advice.”

During Alert Level 4, there are a number of things you need to do to reduce risk for pets and people, NZVA’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Helen Beattie says.

Please remember:

  • Your pets are in your bubble – don’t burst your bubble!
  • Masks are for people, not pets!
  • Keep your dog on a leash when walking it.
  • For unvaccinated animals, or those overdue for a vaccination, keep them on your property and create games and novel activities: spend time playing with them.
  • Call your veterinarian if you have health concerns about your pet

It is also vital that people call their veterinary practice before visiting, even in an emergency, so that the clinic can take appropriate safety precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

VCNZ and NZVA will review their advice as alert levels shift and will keep vets updated.