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Pup profiteers cash in on demand for Covid canines; record pets.

Byline: NEIL MCINTOSH

SO, lockdown is easing and people are starting to venture out.

Covid-19 has a lot to answer for but, from a veterinary point of view, it has caused significant changes.

We have learnt that providing veterinary services while maintaining proper social distancing makes for a whole new experience for both vet and owner.

Most practices are not allowing clients into their buildings unless absolutely necessary, so animals are collected at the door and taken away for treatment. That's hard.

Telemedicine and the ability to prescribe medication "remotely" have been accepted (at least in the meantime) by the "powers that be".

And people have realised that a veterinary surgeon's time, whether it be in person, on the phone or on video chat, has to be paid for if the show is to go on.

Of course, the situation is evolving all the time and to carry out "routine" vaccinations and non-urgent operations but there is a huge backlog of bitches to be spayed, cats to be castrated and lumps to be removed.

We will try to prioritise but, inevitably, it will be frustrating for many and difficult for most.

Vets everywhere are asking for your patience and understanding.

A predictable but disappointing side-effect of lockdown has been the huge surge in demand for puppies.

With time on their hands and little to do, people have been scouring the internet, so that breeders everywhere have been inundated with requests for fluffy bundles.

The knock-on effect is worrying. Firstly, the unscrupulous (or perhaps just the opportunistic) have demanded exorbitant sums for their puppies; unregistered cocker spaniels have been advertised at PS2000, with Labradors double that - never mind the designer breeds.

And there have been the unfortunate who have been told that, sadly, their new pup had died (so here is your deposit back) only to find it advertised at a much higher sum, as prices have soared.

Others have been asked, at the last minute, for far more money than was agreed.

Secondly, prospective owners have risked travelling far outside the guidelines to collect puppies that are never going to be returned if they have defects.

But thirdly, and possibly most importantly, is the very real concern that many of the Covid canines will be dumped or "moved on" when people go back to work or run out of funds.

Already, there would appear to be a "secondary market" on social media for them. Who knows if it is because of genuine hardship reasons or just further profiteering?

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Author:NEIL MCINTOSH
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 18, 2020
Words:418
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