Changes to services
The safety of our community – both human and animal – is of the utmost importance to us. Doing our part to reduce human-to-human contact will mean we’re helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring our practitioners remain healthy and well to avoid a shutdown. As such, we’ll be making some changes to how we operate to ensure biosecurity in the space in which we treat your pets.
- Based on the latest available information, we will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- During this time, we will be prioritising the animals that need our help most. During normal business hours we will be taking only urgent cases. Outside normal working hours we will be taking only emergency cases.
- To ensure our staff are able to maintain safe social distancing, it is imperative that clients call ahead to book an appointment. Clients who do not make an appointment before arriving will likely be turned away and asked to make a booking. Your time is valuable, so please assist us by arriving for booked appointments only.
- In order to ensure that our smaller staffing numbers can give patients the best possible treatment, U-Vet will be unable to accept new clients until further notice so that we can look after our existing clients. We will still be accepting new patients from referring vets for specialist referral surgical and medical services.
While these measures have been put in place to protect our staff from infection, and therefore ensure that we are able to continue treating animals that need our care, our commitment to animal health is our ultimate concern. We will, of course, accept animals in critical need of treatment, regardless of the circumstances.
What is an 'urgent case'?
To ensure that we can remain open and continue to provide clinical services to the animals that need our help, we will be reducing the risk of spread of infection within our staff through social distancing. As a result, we will be prioritising urgent cases, which may include the following:
- Emergency and intensive care cases
- Complex cases that require immediate attention from referral services
- Cases that need immediate or prompt veterinary attention, that cannot be postponed or managed by General Practice
- Essential cases that may not need immediate veterinary attention, but which do need veterinary support to maintain welfare (e.g., animals with chronic conditions), or to prevent welfare issues arising (e.g., dental care).
If you believe your pet needs to be evaluated by our team, contact our staff on 9731 2000 for small animals and 9731 2268 for horses.
If you have an existing appointment, our staff will be in contact with you to make alternative arrangements for the continued care of your pet. In light of the government recommendations to practice social distancing, unless it’s vital to their health, we discourage you from bringing your pets to U-Vet for assessment or treatment during this time. If in doubt, call our helpful staff who can offer you advice.
Before your booking, we may call to ask you some questions about your health or recent travel, in order to ensure the safety of everyone who is treated, visits or works at U-Vet. When you arrive at the hospital, we’ll ask you to wait outside in your car and call reception. Our reception staff may ask you further questions and then will arrange to collect your pet from you. Asking you to wait outside means you can keep your distance from other waiting pet owners. We have implemented extra security.
What happens to my pet once inside the clinic?
It’s difficult and emotional to be separated from your pet when he or she isn’t well. U-Vet wants all pets to feel as safe and comfortable as possible. Every visiting animal will be assigned to one caring nurse who will stay with them for the duration of their visit. Once your pet is in the consulting room, the vet will phone you to discuss symptoms, history and treatment options, and to confirm your consent. You’ll receive another call when your pet is ready for pick-up at the front door.
What if my pet is critically ill or difficult to handle when I'm not present?
U-Vet has set up a dedicated consulting room with direct access from outside the clinic, to minimise traffic through the hospital, so you can be in the room with your pet, if necessary.
How do I make payment?
U-Vet will only be able to accept electronic payment at this time, such as credit card payment by phone or BPAY.
To minimise the risk of staff infection and subsequent shutdown through human-to-human contact, U-Vet will no longer accept stray and unowned animals, unless sick or injured.
We remain open and are prioritising urgent cases, which include sick or injured strays, to ensure that we can offer continued care to animals while maintaining the safety of our clients and staff. Our staff are committed to the welfare of all animals and, like you, are adapting to the changes in the way we work.
If you come across stray animals, please contact your local council for information on where and how to deliver them.
We thank you for your understanding as we do our best to ensure the health of our community. The University of Melbourne continues to make decisions in line with the continuing advice from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Australian Government Department of Health in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19). You can find the University’s full response at the dedicated COVID-19 webpage.
We wish you and your pets the best of health as this situation unfolds.