The World Small Animal Veterinary Association is calling on governments and veterinary authorities globally to ensure that veterinary hospitals and clinics are classified as ‘essential businesses’ and are able to continue to offer all necessary care to patients during the COVID-19 emergency.
As governments seek to introduce risk mitigation measures that may involve the closure of non-essential businesses, the WSAVA is concerned that veterinary hospitals and clinics may also be forced to cease operating. Such a move says the WSAVA will jeopardise the welfare of countless animals, many of whom are vital companions to people who are at risk of suffering increased stress and loneliness because of the need to self-isolate.
“We fully support the risk mitigation measures being introduced as part of the global fight against COVID-19, but we are concerned at reports from some of our members that they have been asked to close their doors,” WSAVA president Dr Shane Ryan said.
“Veterinarians and their teams deliver essential medical care for animals, ensure animal health and welfare, and support the human/companion animal bond by protecting these deep and important relationships.
“As part of our continuing responsibility to care for our animal patients and their owners, we call on governments to recognise all veterinary hospitals and clinics as essential businesses in any situation in which non-essential businesses are asked to close for COVID-19 risk mitigation,” Dr Ryan added.