It’s certainly a different world from the one we’re used to.
Companies are temporarily closing and reducing their working hours across Canada due to COVID-19. Unprecedented regulations are being put in place to ensure everyone’s safety during this tense period.
Although you can probably manage a few weeks without going out to your favorite coffee shop or postpone this root editing with your stylist until things are back to normal, what happens when your dog can’t stop vomiting? Or is your cat hanging out near the litter box, stretching and meowing? You know it is your duty to practice social distancing and self-isolation right now, but as a pet parent, you must also be proactive about their well-being.
Veterinarians and their support teams are always available to assist you and your pets, although staff and availability may be reduced. Here’s my guide to what to do and what to expect if you run into an animal emergency during this insecure period.
If you must go to a veterinary clinic, be sure to follow the current isolation guidelines that apply to you. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, it is suggested to keep your distance even with furry (or hairless!) Relatives. Although animals cannot transport / transmit the new new coronavirus, they can act as contaminated surfaces (think of respiratory fluids from coughing, sneezing and cuddling or petting before washing your clothes and hands) . We ask for your transparency in order to treat your animal as well as possible and to ensure the safety of our staff.
If you’ve recently returned from a trip or have symptoms and have no one to bring your pet or take prescriptions for, let us know and we’ll do our best to help. I cannot speak for each veterinary clinic, but I have seen these steps implemented for some:
Telemedicine is currently an extremely important and useful tool. Over the phone, we can provide safe home remedies or let you know if your pet should be seen. Measures are in place to combat the risk of community spread of COVID-19, which has resulted in the closure of waiting rooms in many clinics. If your clinic is still open, respect social distance. It is advisable to call ahead for prescription refills and food and, if possible, make payment over the phone for quick delivery to the curb. If you have a cell phone, you are often asked to call the clinic from the parking lot.
Be aware that there may be restrictions and delays in retail and pharmaceutical deliveries at this time. Some clinics suggest buying supplies for a month, while some even have online stores.
Due to the high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) in human hospitals today, items such as gloves and masks are in short supply worldwide. For this reason, sterilizations and neutralizations and other non-emergent surgeries can be postponed to guarantee PPE for surgeries of critical patients.
If your pets are a few years old, are in good health and have received regular reminders, it is recommended that you wait for the annual health exams and vaccines at this time. Puppy and kitten booster series are considered essential, so speak to your veterinary team if they are due.
For medical and emergency appointments, the number of people authorized inside your veterinary clinic may be limited or completely prohibited. We know how hard it is to watch your pet suffer, but rest assured that we always have their best interests in mind. Even if you can’t be with them inside the clinic, please know that we give them all the love and care that we can provide. Consultations can be carried out by telephone after the end of the examination or briefly during the return of your pet.
Human euthanasia is a sad reality of owning animals. It’s a day we never want to come, however, it’s often inevitable. If you need to face this difficult decision with all these precautions in place, know that we are there for you and hope to make the difficult period as peaceful as possible, while preserving the safety of everyone involved. Unfortunately, there may be a limited number of family members allowed to participate in the procedure, so it may be worth considering the appropriate preparations to help your family say goodbye and heal at home.
Regulations for businesses change almost daily to comply with provincial and federal guidelines. Social media is a great way to quickly inform the public, so do a Google search to see if your clinic has a Facebook or Twitter page with up-to-date information. My main advice? Call ahead and stay safe.
Allee Dixon is a cat cat, and if not, proclaimed a lady cat. She works as a veterinary assistant at Central Nova Animal Hospital in Bible Hill and enjoys educating the public on various animal issues.