The RSPCA has thanked the veterinary profession for its support as the charity endeavours to maintain an emergency-only service to animals through the coronavirus crisis.

RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer, Caroline Allen, today praised the vets and nurses who are providing essential care to animals through the crisis.

She said: “This is an incredibly challenging time for the RSPCA, trying to advise the public and keeping emergency services going with fewer staff, strained resources and in line with Government advice.

"I know this is equally stressful and challenging for vet staff too and I wanted to say a huge thank you from everyone at the RSPCA for your hard work, dedication and support you are giving the RSPCA.

"Our call centre team and officer are working hard to maintain a frontline animal welfare service, but we know there may be occasions where we are unable to attend and this may impact demand on the local vet practice." 

Current guidance from the BVA defines emergency and urgent treatment as:

  • Emergency: Immediate threat to life; significant impact on health/welfare and likely to deteriorate if left unmanaged. Previously these cases that would have been seen out of hours, or fitted in on the same day.
  • Urgent: Significant impact on health/welfare but currently stable, or moderate impact but significant risk of deterioration.

Caroline continued: "There are some circumstances particular to the RSPCA, such as animals that have been subject to abuse or severe neglect, or injured/unwell unowned animals, that may not initially appear to be such an “emergency” in the traditional sense, but our officers will only be collecting them if there is considered to be ‘significant impact on health/welfare and likely to deteriorate if left unmanaged’ as covered by the BVA emergency criteria. We would greatly appreciate your support in ensuring we can protect the welfare of these animals.

"Our National Control Centre will also be following the guidance from the BVA and will be limiting, wherever possible, sending members of the public to vets. However, on occasions where there is a welfare need that would justify an essential journey, we will always ask members of the public to call practices first and follow their social distancing protocols.

"For vets who provide care for our shelters and private boarders we understand the support available will be limited, we will be producing further advice for our teams around options, including remote support. 

"We do understand and appreciate the current restrictions being put in place by the BVA and we do understand the very serious strain on practices and teams at this time and we hope that we can continue to work together during this unprecedented time."

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