Life around us is changing very quickly lately, including veterinary medicine which is considered an essential service. While all veterinary hospitals may not be enacting the same protocols, here are some of the more common protocols you may come across.
In order to keep you, your pet, and our staffs as safe as possible, curbside drop-offs (similar to curbside pick up from your favorite local restaurant), have temporarily become the norm. This means when you get to your vet for your appointment, you call them to let them know you are there, a quick history will be taken over the phone, and then a staff member will come out and escort your pet into the hospital while you stay in the comfort of your car. This allows minimal exposure for all involved and lets you put your feet up on the dash and listen to the radio while your pet is examined. You may worry that your pet will be stressed while away from you, but in my experience, its the opposite. Not being able to smell, hear, or feel an owner's anxiety has actually had a calming affect on most of my patients. Business As Unusual
It's important to keep in mind that while veterinary hospitals are open, this does not mean everything is business as usual. Many things are being delayed such as non-critical vaccines like the bordetella vaccine for kennel cough. However, if your dog is overdue for their rabies vaccine or is actually sick or has an injury, please do call your vet and schedule an appointment. The Role of Telemedicine
Telemedicine is becoming more popular and some hospitals are employing it. I actually always recommend that when a pet is coughing, limping, seizing, etc... that owners video the episode and email it to their vet so they can see what you see at home. Telemedicine is extremely limited in what it can do, though. Many times I have an animal come in for "hip pain" and it turns out to be a torn ACL, or for a cough that turns out to be heartworm disease. Unfortunately these are not things we can see over a phone or through a video. Telemedicine is a great temporary tool but given its limited scope it can not substitute for an in person exam. Telemedicine also requires that you have been to your vet within the last year and have a documented Client-Patient-Relationship in order for it to be legal. In the meantime....
While we wait out quarantine, some basic things that can keep your pet healthy include not adding new food/treats (can cause upset stomachs), exercising (but don't overdue it, if your pet has never walked 5 miles before it's not a good idea to jump right into it), and not stressing them out. Cats are especially susceptible to stress as they do not deal with change well, so try to keep your routine as similar/consistent as possible . Annual exams are very important (you can't hear a heart murmur at home), but given current circumstances it is important that we weigh the risk factors to us and our pets and proceed accordingly. We look forward to seeing all our patients after quarantine to give them a full check up and make sure everything is working as it should.
Stay Happy and Healthy.