Covid-19, Companion Animals and Veterinary Care
There is a lot of information about SARS-Cov2 and there is even more unknown, which of course is the scary part. Let’s talk about what we do know and how this pandemic is affecting our pets, veterinary care and how we can adapt to the best of our ability. We want to provide you with updates on how we are handling the situation at our facility as well as resources to reliable links.
Current Daily Operation of CAC
We, like all of our small business community neighbors have been effected by the current pandemic in many ways. As New York State reopens, we are still subject to a number of restrictions that have caused us to alter our normal policies. As such, there are different interpretations from hospital to hospital and even case to case. As we learn more information about this virus as a country and an industry, we as a clinic do our best to evolve our protocols with the goals of caring for our patients while keeping our staff members and their families safe. We are now able to resume routine veterinary care, however we are still under a capacity restriction in the building which does still limit our availability. We are also doing our best to work through the back log of patients and procedures that accumulated during the time we were not allowed to provide that care. Please understand that this means it will take longer than normal to get an appointment for routine care. We are doing the best we can to meet everyone’s needs, but due to effects of Covid-19 things will be a little more complicated that normal. Here are some of the current protocols we have put in place to accomplish these goals:
- Changes in normal protocol to minimize staff and client contact
- Increased Sanitation
- Medication/Food pickups in parking lot with over the phone invoicing
- Internal health and safety protocols for staff members
- Encouraging use of our online pharmacy Vet’s First Choice
- Constantly researching and providing updated information
We understand that these are extremely stressful times for everyone but we ask you to be patient and kind with our staff as we work through this. We currently have limited staff, limited resources as we are still under capacity restriction, so please understand that we are doing our best to accommodate a heavy patient load with half of our staff. As new information becomes available, we adjust and adapt and that may slow things down or complicate things a bit more than they would in normal circumstances. The staff members that are here are essential workers that are putting themselves at risk to be available to provide care for your beloved pet, so please treat them with nothing less than the kindness that they deserve. Over the last several months since Covid-19 has changed everyone’s lives, our staff have unfortunately have taken the brunt of many people’s frustration. Like everyone else, we have also been affected and many of the things people are frustrated about are out of our control. We are also tired and frustrated but it is unacceptable to be rude or yell at our staff and we will terminate our relationship with anyone who is abusive to our staff. Please see our open letter to our clients regarding treatment of our staff by clicking here.
If you have an appointment with your pet:
- You will be walked through check in procedures when you schedule
- Please do NOT enter the building unless you are specifically instructed to by the staff
- Please do not come in for an appointment if you have respiratory symptoms or a fever.
- If you have potentially had a Covid-19 exposure, please alert our staff to discuss alternate care options
- You MUST wear a mask inside the building for the safety of our staff and others. If you arrive without a mask, we will not be able to let you inside the building with your pet.
- At this time, only ONE person may accompany a pet into the building.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can my cat or dog become infected with Covid-19 (SARS-Cov-2) and transmit it to humans?
At this time the research is limited but the current thinking from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) based on research regarding the recently positive, cats, tiger and dogs states; “Nothing in these research articles provides conclusive evidence that cats, ferrets, or other domestic animals can be readily infected with SARS-CoV-2, nor do they demonstrate that cats, ferrets or other domestic animals transmit the virus under natural conditions. Despite the number of global cases of COVID-19 surpassing the one million mark as of April 2, 2020, we have only seen examples of two dogs and one cat in Hong Kong, and a tiger in New York, that had positive results of tests for infection. None of the dogs or cats determined to be positive showed signs of illness consistent with COVID-19. The two dogs and one cat lived closely with one or more people with a confirmed diagnosis and clinical symptoms of COVID-19. No conclusions can responsibly be drawn regarding the cat in Belgium because of questions surrounding collection and analysis of samples for testing for SARS-CoV-2 and the absence of an evaluation of that cat for other, more common causes for its clinical signs. The tiger was said to be exposed via contact with a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus, and some other large cats at the zoo that were apparently housed in proximity did exhibit signs of respiratory disease, but are expected to recover. There have been no reports of pets or livestock becoming ill with COVID-19 in the United States. At this point in time, there is also no evidence that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, can spread COVID-19 to people. (Click here to see reference.)
2. If my pet is showing respiratory signs should it be tested for Covid-19?
No. Veterinary Laboratory IDEXX announced the availability of a test on March 13, but neither the CDC, AVMA, nor IDEXX is recommending pets
be tested at this time. In announcing the availability of their test, IDEXX indicated that thousands of canine and feline
specimens had been evaluated during their validation of the test and none had come up as being positive. These results
align with the current expert understanding that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted person-to-person and supports current
recommendations against testing pets for the COVID-19 virus. Dogs or cats with respiratory signs should be evaluated by a
veterinarian for more common respiratory pathogens, before looking to evaluate them for COVID-19. New York State issued an order that testing in pets would only be allowed through the state health department.
It’s important to remember there is currently limited evidence that pets can be infected with SARS-CoV-2. There is no
evidence to suggest that pets can spread COVID-19 to other people or other pets.
3. I have/have been exposed to Covid-19. What special precautions do I need to consider for my pet?
Per the AVMA “Out of an abundance of precaution and until more is known about this virus, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. When possible, have another member of your household or business take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any animals, including pets”.
4. Can pets transmit the Covid-19 virus the way other contaminated objects or surfaces might?
Because your pet’s hair is porous and also fibrous, it is very unlikely that you would contract Covid-19 by petting or playing with your pet. However, because animals can spread other disease to people and people can spread diseases to animals, it’s always best to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals; ensure your pet is kept well groomer; and regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material and toys.
5. What should I do to prepare for my pet’s care in the event I contract Covid-19?
Identify another person in your household who is willing and able to care for your pet. Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared, with at least two weeks worth of your pet’s food and any needed medications. Please make sure this person is an authorized agent on your account with us otherwise we cannot give them access to your pet’s records.
Trusted Resources to Follow
Below are links to reputable resources for Covid-19 information. Again, there is limited information available in regards to animals and Covid-19 but as new resources become available we will post them here for you.