Vets plans expansion as pandemic fuels puppy and kitten boom

Practice staff at Miramar Veterinary Centre in Cromer.
Jane Summer, Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Mol

Practice staff at Miramar Veterinary Centre in Cromer. Jane Summer, Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Molly Button, RVN with Roy, Mary Kennedy, receptionist and Grace Swatman, student VN. Credit: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A north Norfolk veterinary practice has seen a boom in the number of puppies and kittens being kept as pets due to the pandemic.

Practice staff at Miramar Veterinary Centre in Cromer.
Credit: Sonya Duncan

Practice staff at Miramar Veterinary Centre in Cromer. Credit: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

And Miramar Veterinary Centre is now planning to expand its capacity by building a surgery at its site in Old Station Yard off Norwich Road in Cromer.

Dr Jen Richardson, clinical director at Miramar, which also has a larger centre in Sheringham, said: “In our Cromer branch we have consulting rooms where a nurse and a vet can do clinics every day, and we do surgical procedures over at Sheringham.

“But as part of the ‘new normal’ we are planning to expand our services at Cromer, and we have planning permission for a surgical suite.

“We’re hoping to put a business plan forward in the next couple of months.”

Practice staff at Miramar Veterinary Centre in Cromer.
Molly Button, RVN with Roy and Grace Swatma

Practice staff at Miramar Veterinary Centre in Cromer. Molly Button, RVN with Roy and Grace Swatman, student VN. Credit: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan


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Dr Richardson said during the first lockdown their operations were so restricted they could only accept emergency appointments, and only see about a quarter the number of pets they normally would.

Visitors were not allowed inside the centres, so people would have to bring their pets to the car park, from where a staff member would take them inside.

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But now - even during the second lockdown - they are able to once again welcome dog owners inside their centres and run almost the same number of appointment as before the pandemic struck.

She said: “When the first lockdown came around there was a big demand in orders for flea and worm treatments, and we’re really proud that the owners have had that in the forefront of their minds.

“We’ve also developed some bio-security protocols to make sure our centres are Covid secure.”

Dr Richardson said there had been concerns that the new pets of owners furloughed throughout 2020 could suffer separation anxiety as their owners returned to work.

But she said this could be addressed by gradually getting pets used to being without their owners.

Dr Richardson said: “There are also other methods - pheromone therapies, even having the radio on for your pet so they don’t feel like they’re alone. It’s been found that classical music can strongly reduce anxiety in dogs.”

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