The rapid rise in cat and dog ownership during the COVID pandemic*, combined with a vet recruitment crisis, has sparked fears of a ‘treatment timebomb’, as reported by ITV News**.
Ross Hallifax, Affinity Director for Purely Pets, the 5-star Defaqto-rated UK pet insurance specialist, is concerned to hear of the difficulties being encountered by some pet owners in making an appointment to speak with their vet practice.
“Often an owner will reach for the phone to seek peace of mind. There’s nothing more worrying than seeing your pet display symptoms of discomfort or pain. I understand that first-hand, having quite a menagerie of family pets myself.
“Purely Pets can help by providing a complementary 24-hour vet helpline to all our policyholders, which offers advice and guidance. If a customer has a question or concern, they can speak to a qualified veterinary nurse at any time of the day or night, 365 days of the year – either by phone, or via the online chat facility. If necessary, the nurse can initiate a video call, too, to assess the pet more closely. This is incredibly reassuring for our customers, and takes the strain off vet practices if the fear can be resolved simply by a conversation.”
2020 saw a 285% increase in calls to the Purely Pets vet helpline on 2019. In 2021 the company is forecasting a further 62% usage increase on 2020. The most common reasons for concerned owners to make a call have been vomiting, diarrhoea, swelling/lumps, lameness, skin problems and poisoning.
Ross continued, “These year-on-year call increases follow the trend we are hearing about. However, our vet helpline is national and supports all Purely Pets customers, with 90% of calls answered within 30 seconds.”
*Following data released from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, 3.2m UK households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic.
**Wednesday 25th August 2021.