COVID-19 update - 25 April 2020

During the outbreak of COVID-19, we’re here to support you and your pets. We’ll keep this blog updated throughout the coming weeks, so please check back for any new advice.

Agria Pet Insurance continues to operate at full capacity, with all of our staff safely working from home. So, during this period of coronavirus outbreak, all our services are open and continue as normal, including our phone lines and online services. We’ll keep you updated if anything changes.

The latest advice on COVID-19 is available here: nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Veterinary treatment

Many practices are offering a restricted service only, and all practices are adjusting and being impacted by social distancing rules. If you are an Agria policyholder with a non-urgent query, you can make use of the free Pet Health Helpline. See below for details.

If it's an emergency & you need to see your vet, please call them first.

Despite these unusual times, we're operating as usual and are here for you and your pets, and any claims you might have. 

You and your pets

There is currently no evidence that companion animals can spread COVID-19. Click here for the latest update from the government

Advice for pet owners from the World Health Organisation:

"Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of COVID-19. Human outbreaks are driven by person to person contact. However, because animals and people can sometimes share diseases (known as zoonotic diseases), it is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit contact with companion and other animals.

When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.

When possible, people who are sick with COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets and have another member of their household care for their animals. If they must look after their pet, they should maintain good hygiene practices and wear a face mask if possible. Animals belonging to owners infected with COVID-19 should be kept indoors as much as possible and contact with those pets should be avoided as much as possible."

Dogs and dog walking

Can dogs catch or transmit COVID-19?

There is currenlty no evidence to support this. The World Health Organisation (WHO) commented: 'There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19'.

Advice if you have symptoms of or have tested positive for coronavirus 

You should limit physical contact with your dog. If your dog cannot exercise at home, you should ask someone outside of your household to walk your dog for you. The dog walker should bring their own collar and lead for your dog as the virus can be transmitted from an infected household via the lead/collar. All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you must phone the vet to arrange the best approach to meet your pets’ needs.

Advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus

You may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with walking your dog. In doing so, it is important that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside of your household. Wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get back.

All non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you may take them, but must remember to wash your hands and remain 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. You must call the vet before going to see them.

Advice for those walking dogs on behalf of someone not able to

You may also leave your house to provide care or help a vulnerable person. This includes walking a dog for someone who is unable to leave their house because they are self isolating or being shielded. You should take your own collar and lead to use as the virus could be transmitted on these items. Remember to wash your hands before and after handling the dog and keep 2 metres away from other people and animals, including when handing over the dog to the owner.

Further government guidelines on how to safely help others during the pandemic can be found here.

Cats

Cats have their usual freedoms (lucky cats!) during this time. However, if you have symptoms or have been tested positive for COVID-19, you should restrict contact with your cat. All other pet owners should folllow the advice from the government to 'wash your hands before and after any contact with your cat'.

Vaccinations and boosters during the coronavirus outbreak

Primary vaccinations

If your puppy/ kitten has had none, or if they have had the first but not the second vaccination

They must stay inside. Puppies can be allowed into the garden providing no unvaccinated dogs have been there. Kittens cannot due to the risk from other cats.

Be careful if you have been out of the house not to stroke other dogs and change your clothing and footwear when you come home as a precaution.

If you have other cats or dogs at home that are vaccinated, there is no problem with them mixing with the puppies or kittens. However, we advise keeping dogs on a lead during a walk in case they come into contact with an unvaccinated dog and carry infection home to the puppies.

Providing you have followed the precautions above, there is only an extremely low risk that your puppy or kitten will become infected. There are no long-term or adverse effects from delaying primary vaccinations or repeating the first if the gap between them has become too long.

  

Booster vaccinations

If your cat or dog’s annual booster is delayed

Seek advice from your practice if it looks like your booster will be overdue.

The longer an animal goes past it's due booster date there is a progressively increased risk of picking up a potentially serious condition as immunity gradually wanes.

If your cat or dog has missed their booster date, consult your vet for advice. We advise that cats must stay inside, and dogs must stay within the house and garden only – providing no unvaccinated dogs have access to the garden. However, if a dog’s booster is less than ten weeks overdue, seek advice from your vet regarding exercise outside of the home.

Providing you have followed the precautions above, there are no long-term or adverse effects from restarting their vaccination course.

 

To give your dog some extra fun and things to do, see our blog here for ideas for games you can play together at home.

 

Your Agria Pet Insurance policy – there to help

Visit our blog for details of our extra help for pets and owners at this time

Cover for pets that have missed vaccinations

During the coronavirus outbreak, cats and dogs insured with an Agria Pet Insurance policy will be covered for any illnesses caused by problems with access to vaccinations – providing you have contacted your vet for advice and followed the advice they have given you. 

Pet Health Helpline

If you’re concerned about your pet but are self-isolating, cannot attend a veterinary practice, remember that the Pet Health Helpline is there for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It’s completely free of charge and puts you straight in contact with a veterinary-trained professional to give you advice about any concerns or queries you have over your pet’s health.

Simply call 03333 321 947 with your policy details, any time of the day or night. See our blog for how it helped the owner of Dotty when she ate some chocolate.

Boarding fees cover

In the unfortunate event that you are admitted to hospital and you have included Boarding Fees cover within your Agria Pet Insurance policy, we will pay the cost for your pet to stay at a licensed boarding kennel or cattery. We can also pay towards someone to look after them. Please get in touch should you like further details or to claim, please email us at info@agriapet.co.uk, or call our Customer Service team.

This blog will be kept updated throughout this period of COVID-19, so please check back for further advice as and when we have it. And if you have a question, please get in touch with our Customer Service team who will be able to help, at info@agriapet.co.uk.

 

Last updated: 25 April 2020