Hospital for Small Animals

Hospital for Small Animals: Coronavirus guidance for referring vets

The Hospital for Small Animals will, as always, endeavour to put the welfare and care of each and every animal at the top of our agenda. Thank you for working with us during this crisis.

28th May 2020


Dear Colleague,


Dick Vet Hospital for Small Animals – Service update for referring vets during the COVID-19 outbreak


With the ongoing challenges facing us all, we thought it was prudent to provide a further update to our referring practices and clients. The doors of the Dick Vet Hospital for Small Animals have remained open and we have continued to receive many urgent and emergency cases. In addition, over the past several weeks, we have begun to see cases that while not urgent at the beginning of the lockdown have moved into that category now.


In the near future, we will be increasing our staffing level so that we can return to offering something like our usual service. The challenges, as for your practices, are around repurposing the building in the COVID-19 era and managing our body of support staff with childcare responsibilities. We are therefore grateful to everyone for their understanding and co-operation.


While the government regulations for work remain in operation, we are required to decide which animals are seen on a case-by-case basis. However, we would encourage referring veterinary surgeons to contact us to discuss animals that they feel may benefit from referral.


We remain available to assist you with investigation and treatment at your practice, and we are happy to review pictures, diagnostic images and videos, so that working closely with you, we can make a decision on whether admission is necessary on a case-by-case basis. As always, we will put the welfare and care of each and every animal, alongside human safety, at the top of our agenda.  Our radiograph interpretation service continues to be free as we move out of lockdown.


The guidance below is based on the information we have on 28th May 2020 and outlines our plan for the gradual transition to normal clinical services.


  • Our reception staff will continue to run the phones from home. Clients must not come into the reception and we ask that our clients continue to observe the guidelines for admission, ringing before setting off for the hospital and remaining in the carpark socially distanced from us and any other members of the public. If the animal is to stay with us for a portion of the day, we would encourage clients to move off site to keep the parking spaces available for other arriving clients.
  • Reception will take referral letters, e-mails and phone calls as normal and forward them to the relevant service. The senior clinician on the service will triage the case and in consultation with the referring vet decide on a suitable timescale for making an appointment. Again, as reception are still working virtually, we would ask that as much non –urgent communication as possible is done via email, reserving the phone for urgent or emergency cases.
  • We ask all clients to abide by the recommended handwashing advice and to ensure they have washed their hands before interacting with hospital staff and to keep 2 metres away from staff.
  • As before, if a client meets any of the NHS guidelines for self-isolation, we ask that they do not attend the Dick Vet and the animal is brought to our clinic by someone else. There will be no visiting of in-patients at this time.


We hope that the above information is clear and helpful. We are confident that we can continue to provide for the needs of your clients and the welfare of our patients.