A WOMAN has expressed her fear for her dogs' safety ahead of the reduction in late-night service provision in Barrow and Ulverston.

IVC Evidensia, which operates Grove Veterinary Centre, Alexander Vets and South Lakes vets, has announced that due to vet shortages, they can no longer provide out-of-hours care at some of their South Cumbria practices.

This has caused deep concerns among pet-owners who have been advised by the company to travel more than an hour to Carnforth for their nearest out-of-hours treatment option.

Tracey Culley-Brown is legally blind and would struggle to travel far at short notice.

She has a pet Labrador called Stacy as well as guide dog Mo.

She said: "It is harder being disabled.

"I have no transport and no family in the area so getting to Carnforth would be a nightmare for me.

"My pet dog has not been in a car since she was a puppy and she hated it - she is now 14 so she is not a good traveller and some sedation would be needed for her."

Pet owners have reported that independent vets in the area currently have huge waiting lists and cannot accept new patients.

Ms Culley-Brown said: "The family vet is now becoming a thing of the past and it is sad that we don’t have the same trust in our veterinary surgeries now and it seems to be all about making big bucks over the care and safety of our animals."

She is currently in the process of trying to get herself into the position where she could help in an emergency situation.

"We are looking into doing a pet first aid course and checking out vet taxis. It would be great if anyone can come forward or knows of a 24-hour dog taxi," she said.

Claire Harris, Dog Healthy and Wellbeing Operations Manager for the North West, said: "We’re aware that a number of veterinary practices have moved their out-of-hours emergency service, which will affect a few of our service users.

"We will provide reassurance and support if an emergency does happen with their dog. We encourage any of our service users to contact us if they have any concerns."