These are trying times, indeed. Things are definitely not “routine”.
From the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website:
Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people.
If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
At Baker Animal Hospital, we are doing everything in our ability to keep our clients and staff safe from COVID-19. Our employees have been educated and all precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of any viruses within our hospital walls, including coronavirus.
As a healthcare facility, we regularly clean/disinfect to prevent the spread of illness. As with all other businesses, these efforts are now being stepped up, with particular attention being paid to heavily trafficked areas.
Our staff is practicing proper handwashing, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). This includes washing hands for 20 seconds both before and after client/patient interactions (and in our business, sometimes even in-between those two times!).
Just like everybody else, veterinarians are being asked to adapt our approach to “routine” business procedures. The governor of our state has asked dentists and veterinarians to postpone “elective” procedures for the time-being. This is in an effort to preserve the very precious Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that are in such short supply right now.
Elective procedures are the things that are not emergencies…spays, neuters, and dental cleanings. Right now is not the time to schedule these kinds of procedures. They can wait a few weeks.
Similarly, “routine” annual exams and vaccinations might be a good idea to delay during this time of self-quarantine. No…vaccines, heartworm prevention, and flea/tick medications are not in short supply at this time. But minimizing exposure of people and maximizing the conservation of supplies (paper towels) used during every examination is a socially responsible thing to do.
One caveat: We do plan to continue seeing young puppies or kittens in the middle of their vaccination series. At least until we are told we cannot. While adult dogs and cats can afford to have their boosters postponed a few weeks, building up the immune system of puppies and kittens is critical and should not be interrupted.
Any employee with a fever, symptoms of acute respiratory disease, or who is just plain sick has been instructed to stay home. OR, even if they have been around somebody who is sick.
For the health of the community, we ask the same of our clients. Please reschedule any appointments if you are not feeling well. OR, if you have been around somebody who is not feeling well.
As healthcare providers, we take this threat very seriously. We also view our role in slowing down the spread as very important.
Several veterinary clinics at this time are going to a limited number of clients with each pet. Remember, we all have to practice “social distancing” and keep our gatherings to 10 or fewer people. Therefore, we at Baker Animal Hospital ask that for the time being you limit your veterinary visit to one pet and one human.
Also, many clinics are keeping clients out of lobbies. In order to do this, we ask that you call when you arrive in our parking lot or peek in the windows or doors before coming in. In this way we can place you directly into an exam room and keep the lobby and hallway free from “people plugging”.