COVID-19 has brought about many changes in the way people do things. It also affects how we take care of our four-legged friends, too. If your furry friend is sick or injured during the pandemic’s “stay at home” orders, don’t worry. You can still get veterinary care for your pet and obey social distancing rules at the same time. Here is how most vet clinics are navigating pet care during these unusual times.
Most Clinics Are Still Keeping Regular Hours
In all states, pet food stores and vet clinics are deemed “necessary businesses.” As such, most vet clinics have been keeping their usual hours. That is good news for pet owners who need medical care for their pets. If you need anything for your pet, from medicine to an x-ray because your dog was accidentally hit by a car, you can call your vet to see if they are open per their usual hours.
Other Clinics Are Allowing Emergency Appointments Only
Some animal hospitals and vet clinics have decided to offer emergency services only. Those that are only taking animals in emergency situations can determine over a tele-health call or a phone call if the situation warrants an emergency appointment. Usually if your pet is bleeding or appears to have a broken bone, there is no question about it and these vets and animal hospitals will see you right away.
However, there will be a protocol to follow, and you may not be allowed to come into the hospital or clinic with your pet. The protocol is similar to one being used by all other clinics that choose to keep regular office hours. The protocol is also similar to one used by human clinics prior to you seeing a healthcare provider.
The Visit Protocols
Regardless of how an animal hospital or clinic chooses to operate during the pandemic, it will require you to follow a set of protocols. The protocols are as follows:
- Pull up to the clinic or hospital.
- Call the clinic/hospital to alert the staff that you have arrived.
- The staff will come out in full protective gear and ask you questions from four feet away from your vehicle. These questions are to A) ascertain your health for signs of the virus, and B) find out exactly why you have brought your pet to the clinic/hospital.
- You will then place your pet’s carrier on the ground outside of your vehicle.
- The staff will grab the carrier and take your pet into the clinic/hospital.
- Your pet will be examined and treated. You may leave the clinic and return later.
- The vet will call you to let you know what was wrong with your pet.
- You can pay the vet bill over the phone, or when the staff bring your pet’s carrier to your car when you return to pick up your pet.
You have to follow the rules as best as you can. You should never leave your vehicle and attempt to come into the clinic on your own with your pet unless the vet indicates that you can bring your pet’s carrier inside a set of double doors and leave. The rest of the steps are discussed over the phone with you.
Determining the Seriousness of the Need for a Vet Visit During the Pandemic
If you don’t have to take your pet out, don’t. There are ways to determine on your own if your vet really needs to see your pet. Most clinics and animal hospitals provide a guided list of ailments to help you decide if you absolutely should take your pet to the vet clinic or hospital.
Finally, If You or Anyone Else in Your House Has the Virus, Your Pet Will Have to Wait
It is a difficult decision on the part of most veterinarians and clinic staff, but if you or anyone in your house is sick with COVID-19 or is showing signs and symptoms, and your pet’s life is absolutely not in immediate danger, most vets are asking sick individuals to stay home and wait it out. Fido, Fluffy, or Feather will have to wait until most everyone in your house seems to have recovered. If your pet’s health and life is obviously at risk, such as broken bones and bleeding, and you are sick, there is no way around that. Your vet will help you figure it out under those unusual circumstances.