COVID-19 - Some Frequently Asked Questions

We thought it would be helpful to share a few of the questions we are being asked at the moment. Please note that as the situation changes, these answers may have to change too so please check back regularly!

Updated 9/4/21

Will you be open throughout this pandemic?

We are committed to being there for you and your pets. We are following the guideance of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and therefore some work inside the practice is being carried out 'behind closed doors'. Our team are working in 'bubbles' which means some services usually available may be restricted to certain branches only. Please read the rest of the page for details of how we can help you and your pets.

Guideance from the RCVS as to how operate services during the UK National lockdown advises that services can continue provided we can do so safely so please assume that any booked appointments will go ahead unless we contact you to advise otherwise. All routine first opinion consultations will be directed to a video consultation to reduce the footfall into the practices. If the vet needs to physically see your pet, our team will arrange this. 

We are keeping our opening hours page updated. Our phone lines are extremely busy - please consider whether you can use some of online services that may save you time

Currently our farm veterinary team are operating as normal - please call the usual number.

Can I enter the practice?

Over the average week we see lots of different owners with their pets and our staff work across different shifts so that we can offer our services for longer, more convenient hours (and an out of hours emergency service). This means that our team are exposed (at close quarters – consultation rooms are not large and whilst you hold your pet, the vet or nurse get pretty close!) to lots of different people across the day and then that is replicated across the week. If just one person visits one of our team not knowing they are infectious with COVID-19 and passes it on, then our team could pass it on to lots of the local community and across our entire team, potentially causing us to need to reduce services or even shut for a period of time, not to mention the obvious risk to everyone’s health!

A recent survey reported by the BBC (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52637008) showed that, under normal circumstances, out of a list of 359 different jobs, vets are the 9th most likely to be exposed to disease and the 8th most likely to get into close proximity with other people.

Therefore, in order to continue to provide as normal a service as possible, we have to continue to provide it in a very different way, for the protection of all our staff and you, our clients. We thank everyone who is supportive of this.

Clients may now accompany there pet into the practice waiting area (strictly 1 client per pet please) provided they are wearing a face covering. If you are unable to wear a face covering, we can still see your pet but may ask you to wait outside.

Unfortunately we are still unable to accomodate people in our consulting rooms that are just not large enough to allow for social distancing. Please do not arrive too early for your appointment as room in the waiting areas is restricted so we may need to ask people to wait outside until their appointment time. 

Video Consultations

Our video consultation service is available and the RCVS temporarily relaxed the guidance on allowing vets to prescribe POM-V medications without always physically examining a pet - this will obviously be on a case-by-case basis and we may still need to see your pet. However, this service will allow you to discuss your concerns with a vet without leaving the safety of your home. This service uses Zoom and all details of how to join the call will be provided upon booking. Please note the different types of consultations available and choose the right one for your needs. 

Book Your e-Consultation

My pet’s vaccination is due – are you still doing this?

Guidelines from the RCVS and the Government allows us to continue our vaccination service although in order to keep with social distancing guidelines, your pet may need to be handed over to one of our team. 

Given that the world is in lockdown because of one disease for which there isn’t yet a vaccine, we know that everyone will understand how important their pets’ vaccinations are! 

Bookings for booster vaccinations can be made online here or call our Telephony Team who can assist.

Any new puppies should start their vaccination course at 8 weeks with a follow up at 12 weeks (we would recommend that a new puppy stays in its new home for a minimum of 5 days before coming to the vet although obviously do contact us if you have any concerns during that period).

Kittens require two vaccinations which can be started from 8 weeks of age; the second is given 3-4 weeks later (the 2nd vaccination must be given at 12 weeks of age).

Rabbit vaccinations should be booked for their due date. 

Horse vaccinations can be booked via the Farm Office on 01491 651479 - each visit will be subject to a Health & Safety assessment.

If my pet is due a repeat prescription check, what do I do? Will you give me a repeat prescription without seeing my pet in the current circumstances?

This will depend on your pet’s condition, the medication and how stable they are on the medication. Ordinarily we are required by law to see an animal every three months in order to prescribe medication – these are not ordinary circumstances and we will need to review any exceptions on a case by case basis.  If your pet does need a repeat prescription check – we may be able to do this via a video consultation.

Are you still doing home visits?

We are currently unable to send our staff to any home visits. Please liaise with our team where we will discuss your needs on a case by case basis to work out how we can help.  If you are in isolation – we are happy for a neighbour or friend to bring your pet to the practice (as long as transferring your pet to your helper doesn’t risk you or your helper becoming exposed). 

Are all your branches open?

Yes although some are operating at reduced hours with limited services. Opening hours are available here. All branches are open for pre-booked appointments only. If you need to see a vet in an emergency, please call us so the team can be waiting for you upon arrival. 

How can I pay my bill?

Payment can be made in the following ways:

Using a credit/debit card over the phone or via our website using a secure link to Barclaycard.

Or via BACS into our bank account: Sort Code 60-22-19 Account 67375782 (Account name: Larkmead Veterinary Group Ltd). Please use your pets full name as a reference to help us reconcile your payment to your account. 

Will you post medication out to me or can I still collect them?

We can send drugs out using the Royal Mail Signed For service - there is a charge made for this to cover postage and packing. 

We also offer a collection service from Didcot, Great Western Park or Cholsey. Order your prescription online and allow 2 working days before you come to collect from your chosen location.

Once you arrive for pick-up please go to the door - we can only allow a limited number of people into the reception area at a time so you may need to wait for a space - please let the greeting Receptionist know that you are here to collect food/meds and you will be directed where to wait whilst your items are brought out. Anyone entering the practice must wear a face covering. If you need to speak to someone regarding your order, please call the usual numbers. 

Can I take 3 months supply of my pet’s medication?

Again, this will depend on your pet’s condition and the medication. Please speak to one of our team who can review your pet’s circumstances.  Generally, it is still best practice to prescribe only 30 days of medications at one time (for some medications we are required by law to only provide 30 days).  Please remember, if you are elderly/vulnerable or self isolating, we will be able to post medications to you if you are unable to collect them from the practice. 

Can I still order flea and worming treatments or other medication?

Yes - this can be done via the online medication order form. Please allow 2 working days before coming to collect.  Opening hours are available here. Collection is available from Cholsey, Didcot, or Great Western Park. Please note that you will not get confirmation that your order is ready but it will be available for you two working days after ordering.

Once you arrive for pick-up please go to the door - we can only allow a limited number of people into the reception area at a time so you may need to wait for a space - please let the greeting Receptionist know that you are here to collect food/meds and you will be directed where to wait whilst your items are brought out. Anyone entering the practice must wear a face covering. If you need to speak to someone regarding your order, please call the usual numbers. 

Can I still order pet food?

Yes, we currently have a very good supply of pet food on a daily basis.  Please order your food online here as our phone lines are extremely busy, we would ask that you collect any orders promptly (2 working days after ordering) to help with storage space. Please note that you will not get confirmation that your order is ready but it will be available for you two working days after ordering.

Collection is available from Didcot, Cholsey, or Great Western Park. Once you arrive for pick-up please go to the door - we can only allow a limited number of people into the reception area at a time so you may need to wait for a space - please let the greeting Receptionist know that you are here to collect food and you will be directed where to wait whilst your items are brought out. Anyone entering the practice must wear a face covering. If you need to speak to someone regarding your order, please call the usual numbers. 

It's time for my pet to be neutered - can you help?

Yes, please give us a call to discuss.

What is happening at your branches that are open?

We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection within the branches, including contact surfaces, and our team are used to regular, thorough hand washing. We are still able to admit pets that require hospitalisation but unfortunately, visits will not be permitted except in exceptional circumstances.

If you are asked to enter the practice please follow instructions from our staff regarding your visit and thoroughly wash hands on arrival and departure. Everyone is required to wear a face covering in line with Government guidelines and unless exceptional circumstances, only one human per pet is permitted. If you are unable to wear a face covering, please let the team know - we will still be able to see your pet but may ask you wait outside. 

Should I keep my cat indoors?

Please read the advice from the BVA regarding the article on the BBC news site today: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news-article/bva-statement-on-cats-and-covid-19/

The headline of the BBC article suggested that veterinary advice was to keep all cats indoors, but BVA has explained this advice is only in relation to cats in infected households or where people are self-isolating.

Ultimately, you should judge how friendly your cat is with other people and whether he/she visits other people’s houses.  Taking steps to ensure neighbours cats do not come into your house and not petting them seems like a sensible precaution for everyone. However, there are some considerations you will need to bear in mind if you choose not to let your cat outside at all:

  • This is a major change to their lifestyle that they will not understand
  • The stress can lead to health complications – in particular you should watch out for signs of straining to urinate, frequent small amounts, any blood in urine or lack of urine production
  • Rather than keeping them inside could you restrict your cat to entering only a small area of your house on return from roaming to limit risk?
  • If you decide to move your cat indoors follow advice carefully to try to make it as happy as possible (https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/felinelifestressors/bringing-cats-indoors)

There is some great information for cat owners on the iCatCare website (https://icatcare.org/covid-19-advice-for-cat-owners/) and the Ohio State University of Veterinary Medicine (https://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats/basic-indoor-cat-needs)