As we brace for a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are lots of questions circulating about what is and isn’t considered an “essential service”, and what would be a good enough reason to leave the safety of your ‘Furtress of Solitude’ during the isolation period.

We know that you are kind, loving pet parents and want to know whether vets will be open if there is an emergency- so we did some digging to find you the answers. Here’s what you need to know:


  1. Yes! Vets do offer an “Essential Service” 👍

According to a media statement released on the 24th of March by Ms. Thoho Didiza, MP Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, “Agricultural production in all its forms will remain uncompromised. This includes all services including provision of veterinary and advisory services.” So, some good news at least.


  1. Necessary and essential treatments only

Dr Mike Modisane, Chief Veterinary Officer from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development advised that veterinary professionals should assess whether treatment is deemed essential. “Veterinarians should not leave their homes solely to perform elective, cosmetic surgeries and or spays unless medically indicated.” His suggestion is that if the issue can wait, it should…

Most practices whom we have spoken to seem to be following the below protocol:

  • Reduced hours
  • Appointment only
  • No routine care
  • One person per pet allowed (if the practice allows you to enter with your pet)
  • Clients to wait in vehicles
  • Vets are encouraging clients to stock up on medication and prescription food before lockdown


  1. Reduced hours

We’re also likely to see vets working reduced hours with skeleton staff. Dr Modisane stated that, “If a service is not essential, the provider of that service should stay at home. Where necessary, the service providers must use only skeleton staff.”


  1. Off to the vet, now what?

Here’s where we’re still a bit unsure. What we don’t know, is what you need to carry on your person that proves you are on your way to a vet practice with an animal patient to obtain an essential service. We will keep you updated on our findings as soon as we know more, but we imagine a howling pooch might do the trick.


  1. Business as usual at

We know you love chatting to us, but your chances of getting through telephonically might not be as good during the lockdown, since we will be scaling down the number of people in the physical call centres as a safety precaution. Although we are deemed as an essential service too, we will be doing most of our servicing online using our chat and policy management portal to protect our special people. Don’t worry though, our claims and service agents are ready to deal with anything that you can throw at us! We’re still here for your pets, we promise!

As always, we encourage you to engage with us on social media here and even here. We will keep you updated with any further developments in the vet space and we wish you all a safe and boredom free isolation holiday with your pets.