WARRINGTON residents have turned to cats and dogs to keep them company during difficult periods of lockdown during the Covid pandemic.

So much so that recently opened Burford Lane Vets in Lymm has been inundated with customers wanting to register.

The surgery says that people should ideally find a vet before bringing their new pet home, warning that future pet owners should be prepared.

But after a bust start to its existence, the vets wanted to offer reassurance to those struggling to register their pet or get an appointment elsewhere that it will be able to take on new pets this month.

Dr Sean Cleary, from the Burford Lane surgery, said: “The huge increase in dog and cat ownership in lockdown, combined with the impact of Brexit, has sadly led to a real vet shortage.

Dr Sean Cleary, of Burford Lane Vets in Lymm

Dr Sean Cleary, of Burford Lane Vets in Lymm

“The British Veterinary Association has asked people who are considering buying or rehoming a pet to make sure they have access to a vet before they do so.

“Cats and dogs need a number of first checks and vaccines and will also need quality care throughout their lifetime.

“Since we opened last October, we have been inundated, registering over 1,500 pets in the first nine weeks.

“At one point, we were unfortunately unable to take any new clients due to the demand until now, but despite that, we have always made sure we have seen any pets in an emergency.

“Our experienced head nurses Gemma Scott and Ashlee Crook have been offering a free lump and bump check service to all cats and dogs, even if they are not registered with us, and will continue to do that.

Dr Sean Cleary, of Burford Lane Vets in Lymm

Dr Sean Cleary, of Burford Lane Vets in Lymm

“Everyone in our industry is doing their very best to make sure pets get the treatment they need, but unfortunately, the pressures on our sector are very real.”

The vets says that due to Brexit, all meat and fish exported to the EU now requires a vet or veterinary officer to certify the food for entry to Europe, which is putting extra demand on vets.

In addition, more than 3.2million UK households have bought a pet since the start of the pandemic, according to a recent report.

Sean added: “We have certainly seen a big increase in the number of people getting a new pet right across Cheshire, and the majority are totally unaware of how difficult it has become to find a vet.

“It is a bit like putting your child’s name down on a list for a nursery before birth – you need to be prepared.”