Today as we mark the unwelcome milestone of a year since we entered the first lockdown, our team reflect on how our work has changed, and how the HeartVets cardiology service has evolved.
It has been of huge benefit to the mental health of our nation to have our pets alongside us at such a challenging time. Sadly this brought a new generation of puppies needing help with congenital heart defects. Fortunately, we have helped many families to keep their much-loved pets, performing life-saving interventional (keyhole) surgery for problems such as patent ductus arteriosus or severe pulmonic stenosis. This success reflects the diligence of our referral vets, detecting murmurs and helping owners and pets to get the best care despite the difficult circumstances.
Our ECG interpretation and Holter monitoring service has been in demand more than ever, as vets strive to provide gold standard cardiology care at their own clinics. It has been fantastic to give specialist case guidance for these pets in need without owners travelling far.
Referral clinics have been challenging, and we had to reduce our visiting services to limit travel and contacts. However, we are delighted to report that all of our regular clinics are now back up and running, and we have learnt how to continue that accessible, local cardiology referral service in a COVID-secure way.
And of course we have had frustrating periods of time working from home, providing home-school or self-isolating, giving webinars from our kitchen table and joining meetings or conferences online! Some of us have been unwell or had families affected, and our wonderful HeartVets team have provided fantastic support for each other, as well as our referring vets and their clients and pets.
As we slowly surface from restrictions this spring (hopefully for the last time!) we will continue to adapt our HeartVets cardiology service, helping vets and pets wherever we can. Just keep a close ear out for those puppy murmurs and ask us for advice early on…!