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Pet Emergency Care Focus Of New Campaign

Have an animal emergency? Think P.E.T.

That’s the message the New Zealand Veterinary Association Te Pae Kīrehe (NZVA) is urging animal owners to remember, as part of a new campaign to improve the way people use veterinary emergency services.

‘Animal Emergency? Think P.E.T’, which is being launched ahead of the summer holidays, asks owners to follow three simple steps if their pet is sick or hurt and their vet clinic is closed.

P.E.T stands for:

1. Pause. Think for a moment about whether your pet needs emergency care or could be seen by their vet during normal business hours.

2. Emergency call. Phone your vet if you think your pet needs emergency care or you’re unsure.

3. Take. Follow the advice you receive to either take your pet to an emergency service provider, or book an appointment during normal business hours.

NZVA Head of Veterinary Services - Companion Animal, Sally Cory says "keeping veterinary emergency services for emergencies only" means very sick animals can receive the treatment they need quickly, and vet teams are not overwhelmed. "It’s important that teams can focus on the patients that need it most."

"There are currently too many animals being seen by emergency service providers that do not require emergency care," Sally says.

"This campaign is all about people taking just a moment to consider whether their pet needs immediate care, and if they think they do, to then call their vet for further advice."

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If owners are advised to go to an emergency service provider, they may also be asked to ring ahead to let the vet team know they are coming.

"This helps prepare staff for your arrival," Sally says. "Keep in mind that going to an animal emergency service provider is like going to a hospital: animals with more urgent needs might be seen ahead of yours, even if you arrived before them."

Animal owners are also being asked to help prevent emergencies from happening by keeping routine vaccinations up-to-date; booking daytime appointments wherever possible; providing plenty of shade and shelter for their animals; and ensuring pets are safe and secure while at home and out in the community.

"Over the upcoming holiday season, most vet clinics will be closed for a few days. Make sure you are registered with a clinic, know what days they will be shut, and their emergency phone number, just in case you need it," Sally says.

Owners who are travelling with their pets during the holidays are encouraged to find out where their closest vet will be, and if their animal takes medication, to have enough packed for the trip.

For more information about the campaign, visit nzva.org.nz/emergencycare.

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