Sick Pet On Your Narrowboat

What you would do if you had a sick pet on your narrowboat? This exact scenario happened to us recently so we wanted to share our tips.

First of all we noticed that Alice was lethargic. We were moored near a place we nicknamed ‘Alice’s Wonderland’ due to the abundance of trees and other cool cat like surroundings. Suddenly we noticed that Alice didn’t seem as engaged in the surroundings as usual. Upon examining her paws we noticed that she was limping ever so slightly. We also saw her sleeping more and finally noticed some blood patches under where she was sleeping.

We needed a vet and we needed one fast.

Tips on getting to the vet

Here are the steps that you need to take to ensure that your pet can see a vet as soon as possible once you notice symptoms.

  1. Locate a vet. No matter where you are chances are you have a mobile phone. If you have the internet that is even better. You can Google ‘Pets at home’ (or vet) and find a store near to you. You will need to know what suburb you are in (use Google Maps or your canal guide) and where you are heading. If you only have your phone and no internet connection you can ring directory enquiries to obtain the contact number of a nearby vet.
  2. Arrange transport. Every town or village, will have a cab company of one sort or another. In some cases, when you are in the middle of nowhere, you may have to pay the cab a fee to fetch you from the nearest town as well as the fee to transport you to the vet. When you check your location on a google map you can also enquire if there are cabs in the area. Practice how to do this before you actually need to use the function. It can be quite stressful learning new things when you are stressed about your pet. When arranging transport it is good to look for a pub or road on a map and then moor up near it so you have a landmark to give to the cab company.
  3. Write down what the vet says. Sometimes when you are moving your boat you will not be able to get back to the same vet for follow up checks. Therefore, you need to take notes at the vet. Remember this is a service you are paying for and you are entitled to ask questions about ‘what if’ scenarios and ask advice.
  4. Keeping your pet inside. Most vets will advise that pets remain inside, for a time, when healing. This makes sense, you don’t want your pet to deal with infections or disorientation whilst they are recovering. Here’s the tricky thing though- the pet doesn’t know that! So, really, it is time for some tough love. Rest assured your sleep will be interrupted because of the change of routine. Most probably the days will be filled with extra naughtiness as your pet tries to work out just how far they have to go to make you open the door for them. However, it is at this point that you need to be the strongest.

Think on your feet

In our case we were passing a suburb with no vet, but we were about 2 hours cruise from a Pets at Home. Remember when you are cruising that it might seem like a vet is hours away, but actually if you were to call a cab it would be quite close.

When Alice was sick, we decided to moor up two hours away from the town that had Pets at Home, but it was only a 10min cab ride. We thought that was a better use of our time.

Having a pet that is unwell whilst you are living full time, or travelling on a narrowboat does not have to cause you added stress. Be prepared- by knowing how to use your phone and internet to find help.

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