A NEW support service is to provide the homeless with community veterinary care for their pets.

StreetVet has 40 volunteer vets and veterinary nurses patrolling Brighton and Hove.

They will carry out check-ups on animals with rough sleepers once they have been given permission.

Animals can be treated for fleas and worms, given medication and vaccinations, have blood and lump samples taken, and their urine analysed.

Dogs can also be microchipped and any needing advanced treatment can be taken to a support practice for neutering, dental work, surgery, X-rays and hydrotherapy.

Establishing a presence in Brighton is the latest stage in non-profit StreetVet’s expansion across the south of England.

It was founded less than a year ago in London by vets Jade Statt and Sam Joseph but has already spread to Bristol and Cambridge.

Support for its work has come from many sources, including pet food manufacturer Webbox Natural.

It has donated a year’s supply of pet food to the Brighton team.

Ms Statt and Mr Joseph identified a potential need for its services in Brighton through consultation with charities who work with the homeless.

StreetVet teams will go to soup kitchen sessions with the Sussex Homeless Support group to get to know rough sleepers.

However they also plan to go on walkabout to locate those whose pets may need support.

Ms Statt, 38, who qualified as a vet in 2002, said: “Most rough sleepers look after their dogs very well but some level of extra care can often be required.

“For example, they can’t always control what their pets eat or its quality, which can lead to stomach problems.

“Brighton has a growing problem with homelessness and therefore it is likely there will be an increasing number of pets who require treatment.

“We’ve all walked past a homeless person with a dog and wanted to help.”