COVID update 1st August 2020

Thank you to all of you who have embraced our new way of caring for your pets during the last few weeks. We at The Forge and Aldham are continuing to search for new ways to look after your pets while protecting you and us.
Please not that this update should be read in conjunction with all other Covid 19 updates below .
The Halstead surgery will continue to operate normal opening hours six days a week. We still have limited busy staff so your patience is appreciated.
From the 1st August Aldham surgery will return to normal opening hours Monday to Friday.
We will continue to run a closed door policy as described below.
We envisage that due to social distancing the system of nurses rather than clients assisting vets to hold our pets will need to continue until the new year. We have found that most dogs, cats and even rabbits are more relaxed than usual with this system. They are spending less time in the waiting room before and after examination which is reducing their stress levels and clients are not worrying about their pets misbehaving.
We can now catch up on medical assessments for patients on repeat medications and we have limited capacity to weigh small puppies and kittens at a distance outside that need updated weights for their flea, worm and tick medication.
Routine nurse consultations and nail clips for non medical reasons remain on hold.

Covid 19 update 14th April 2020

While still operating with limited staff and hours of opening we have developed an effective system to maintain social distancing while being able to see the most needy pets.
The government has confirmed that you may travel to the vet during the lockdown and our governing bodies have increased the scope of health and medical reasons which we can act upon.
If you are concerned about any medical condition or changes in your pet that has seemed less immediate over recent weeks we would ask you to phone the surgery for advice on whether action should be taken now to prevent further complications as time goes on.
We do not feel that an extended lockdown should put our animals at greater risk of disease or injury.
Suitable vaccinations and boosters can now be offered if on discussion with you we feel your pet is at genuine risk during or after the current lockdown.
Other non essential procedures such as routine nail clipping remain under review and cannot be offered at this time but if in doubt please phone.


Covid advice updated 27th March 2020
Please read this update in conjunction with previous advice issued below.

We remain open for essential and emergency cases for our registered clients but to protect our staff we have had to alternate our hours between The Forge and Aldham Veterinary Centres. The phone lines will remain open and will divert to whichever site is working on that day so whichever surgery you usually attend your call will be answered. No walk ins are permitted. You must phone and will be asked to wait outside or in your car with your pet if the vet needs to see your pet. Only one owner should attend with a pet.
We must limit contact with people so our staff will take your pet into the surgery for examination and will decide on the most appropriate treatment in these challenging times.
We may not need to see your pet face-to-face to prescribe medication if the vet feels this is appropriate with the limited information they can gain from emailed photos/ videos and a phone consultation which can be arranged by our receptions. This service is only available to registered clients.


We are now offering some routine surgeries on a case by case basis. Please contact us for details.
Preventative health is still important at this time as many of the preventable diseases of cats and dogs could be transferred to humans especially if they are immuno-compromised. It is therefore essential to prevent worms, fleas and ticks in our patients. Medication can be ordered remotely by phone and collected without human interaction.


We are now prioritising any delayed boosters and are contacting those that we know are due vaccination. if your pet is overdue their booster vaccination and we haven't managed to contact you please get in touch to arrange an appointment.


We will not be offering elective surgery such as neutering during crisis and we encourage you to take precautions to keeps bitches and queens in season away from entire males.
Preventative health is still important at this time as many of the preventable diseases of cats and dogs could be transferred to humans especially if they are immunocompromised. It is therefore essential to prevent worms, fleas and ticks in our patients. Medication can be ordered remotely by phone and collected without human interaction.

The British Veterinary Association's advice is not to give annual boosters at this time. We have been assured by the vaccine manufacturers that a three month delay in your pets annual booster will not impact your pets health provided some extra precautions are taken.
1 If possible cats in densely populated areas should be kept indoors but in our rural community this should not be necessary. If you are self isolating your cat should be indoors too.
2 As social contact is limited for us it should also be for dogs on walks so the risks of catching kennel cough should be reduced if they are kept on a lead and of course they will not be going to kennels.
3 Your dogs leptospirosis protection may reduce slightly as time goes on but the peak time for risk of this infection is the Autumn. Spring and summer are safer but you should avoid water courses and known rat infested areas where possible.
We will prioritise any delayed boosters once it is safe to do so and we will contact you at the time.
Due to the restrictions on unnecessary travel we do not anticipate that there will be many new puppies and kittens to vaccinate. If you have recently taken on a new fur baby please phone the surgery for advice. The puppy or kitten should be isolated until such time as we can vaccinate them safely.

Covid 19 Notice
We are still OPEN for business.
As a small independent vet practice we are passionate about our work and feel privileged you trust us to look after the health of your pets. Unfortunately Coronavirus may disrupt the way we work over the coming weeks in order for us to protect our clients and staff.
We have changed our working patterns to minimise unnecessary human face to face contact so that our team can stay healthy and the clinic remain open (unless government guidelines change). We are asking for your help too.

-If you or any member of your household are self isolating or showing signs of infection then please inform our receptionist at the earliest opportunity. You will be asked not to attend the clinic but if your pet needs to be seen you will need to arrange for someone else to bring him/ her here.
-We would ask that only one client presents with a pet where possible. -Please do not request a visit during this crisis as our staff do not have the training to protect themselves from possible infection outside the clinic environment nor do we have the protective equipment needed.
-We may be able to treat your pet by gathering information over the phone and by you emailing pictures or videos to us when requested. It would be at the vet's discretion whether your pet needs to be seen at the clinic or medication can be dispensed if needed. As you will appreciate this may mean lowering our diagnostic accuracy and we will be making judgement with limited information thus our liability will be reduced. The RCVS has agreed that such changes are acceptable
-We may be able to extend medical assessments for a patient on long term medication who is stable and well controlled. This will be assessed on a case by case basis.
-If you do have a pet on long term medication, we would encourage you to order your next set of medication sooner rather than later. It is important to keep your pet well and disease free particular if you are unwell. Already the normal frequency of our deliveries have been reduced although we are not expecting any drug shortages at this stage.
-We will encourage payment payment for services and drugs over the phone to avoid us handling cash and you spending more time in the reception area.

Other information
-Unfortunately we have had to cancel all puppy socialisation classes for the foreseeable future
-It will be important to have puppies and kittens vaccinated but if this cannot be done they should be kept in until such time as we can protect them
-Regrettably we will not be running any nurse clinics including weighing and worming. Rest assured our nurses will be keeping in contact and will be able to dispense the products your pets need to keep them healthy .For Pet Health Plan pets there would be no financial transaction at the surgery so products can be collected with minimal interaction

And finally
-We may at some stage need to close one or both clinics to the public and provide a limited emergency service . We will endeavour to keep our website and Facebook page up to date but apologise if events out pace this.
Please Stay well and safe. Look after yourselves and your pets will provide unconditional love and support during the difficult times ahead.
Nigel and all the team at The Forge and Aldham Vet Clinics

Welcome to Aldham Veterinary Centre, the twin practice to one of the longest established independent veterinary practices in the heart of Essex, The Forge Veterinary Centre in Halstead, founded 1867.

Aldham Veterinary Centre has been created by vet Nigel Sproule and his experienced, dedicated team to fulfil their vision to deliver the Forge Veterinary Centre's expertise and family approach to stress free caring for pets and owners in the Colchester area.

With kind, highly experienced vets and a dedicated, caring nursing team, we look forward to welcoming your pet and inviting you to experience our exceptional all round care coupled with friendly, personal service at Aldham Veterinary Centre.

Opening Times ::
Monday - Friday ::
8:30AM - 6:30PM
Sunday ::
8:30AM - 11:30AM
Saturday ::
8:30AM - 11:30AM
Saturday appointments are at The Forge in Halstead - please call 01787 472666
Emergency Service Vet
Aldham Veterinary Centre
New Road
01206 809199
email us

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