Snow, sub-zero temperatures and treacherous roads have frightened off clients in areas worst affected by the weather in the past week. With snow covered roads turning to ice rinks, small animal clients are putting off bringing their pets in, while farm units have been made inaccessible.
Snow, sub-zero temperatures and treacherous roads have frightened off clients in areas worst affected by the weather in the past week.
With snow covered roads across Kent, Hampshire and southern England turning to ice rinks, small animal clients are putting off bringing their pets in, while farm units have been made inaccessible by the current cold snap.
Gordon Matthews, partner at Cedar Veterinary Group in Hampshire, said six inches of snow overnight had seen his large animal clients urging him to cancel his visits, while small animal owners were too scared to brave the roads. During January 6, Mr Matthews’ team only managed to make a single large animal visit (compared to the usual six) and only had two small animal appointments and one operation.
He said: “Most clients have been too scared to navigate the roads. We had to send one member of staff home because there was nothing for them to do. The whole place is quiet.”
Devon-based Margaret Goaman, practice manager at North Park Veterinary Group‘s Hatherleigh branch, claimed her practice was coping with the weather but had seen a large number of cancellations. However, she was concerned that emergency cover and bovine TB testing could be affected by continued snowfall.
She said: “Farmers won’t be happy if they have to wait another 60 days for testing and spend another 60 days under restriction. But we’re not intending for it to get to that stage and we are planning ahead for more snow.”
Vetsonline users are also experiencing problems, with more than 86 per cent of respondents to this week’s poll claiming that extreme weather conditions were having adverse affects on their businesses.
The majority of responses received since the poll was added yesterday (January 6) claimed a large number of cancellations, while other practices are short-staffed or have been forced to close entirely due to road closures.
Comments so far include: “emergencies only, on skeleton staff”, “vets and clients can’t get to surgery as roads closed due to snow” and “lots of cancellations and nurses and receptionists not coming in”.
However, one vet who contacted Vetsonline looked at the disruption as a chance to do some housekeeping.
Louise Rayment-Dyble, from All Creatures Healthcare in Horsford, Norwich, said: “We are new practice and were not open in January last year, so our figures still show growth. However, if we are going to get distruption, a quiet time of year is better. It gives us a chance to do some business planning.”