In uncertain times like we are currently experiencing; we know you’ll have a lot of concerns and questions. As veterinarians, we’ll attempt to answer some of the common questions we’ve been receiving and address how our hospital is responding to this epidemic. We know the stress of a pet being sick during this time can be overwhelming and we want to do everything we can to help. As a locally owned hospital, we’re acutely aware of the impact experienced in our community. We’ll do everything we can to assist during this time.
Coronavirus and Pets
There have been conflicting news reports about the impact of this virus on pets. Some of the confusion stems from a misunderstanding of some common terminology. As many medical sources have written about, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. This family includes the novel virus that is causing the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also includes many other viruses that infect dogs and cats. Even cattle, birds and fish are susceptible to certain coronaviruses. It is important to note that dogs and cats get unique types of coronaviruses that are classified as alpha-coronaviruses, while the current outbreak is caused by a beta-coronavirus (officially called SARS-cov-2).
Can I get COVID-19 from my pet?
The CDC and WHO both indicate that there is no evidence that dogs, cats, or other pets can transmit COVID-19.
What about the dog that tested positive?
One dog in Hong Kong did test weak positive. This dog was in close proximity to infected people, and a canine housemate has not tested positive. Since being quarantined the dog did test positive again but has since tested negative. Clinical signs were never observed, and the dog appears to be in good health.
Can my pet get COVID-19?
At this point there is no evidence that pets have developed COVID-19. IDEXX, one of the world’s largest animal diagnostics companies, has tested thousands of dog and cat samples from the United States. They have not identified any positives.
Should I avoid contact with my pet if I’m sick?
If you are sick, you should avoid contact with your pet as much as you would avoid contact with other humans. While it is not thought that pets can get COVID-19, it is possible for respiratory droplets to get on pets and then be transferred to other people. In this way, pets could act as a source of the virus, just like many other surfaces, such as doorknobs or tabletops.
Is there a vaccine available for pets?
This is another question that can be traced back to a confusion in terminology. There are vaccines that have been created for canine and feline coronaviruses. These vaccines are not commonly used for various reasons. We’ve even seen pictures on Facebook of people suggesting using the cattle coronavirus vaccine. We can’t emphasize enough that there is no evidence to show that the vaccines on the market for animals protect against the SARS-cov-2 virus that is currently circulating. They should not be used in the face of this outbreak, and they certainly should not be used on people.
Are there any problems with the supply of pet medications?
We have not heard of any medication backorders directly related to COVID-19. Nevertheless, there are many active ingredients for drugs made in Europe, and many generic drugs manufactured in China. If your pet is on a lifesaving medication, it may be prudent to have an extra supply on hand. Should you wish to order a reasonable amount of additional medication, please call us to discuss options.
COVID-19 and West Park Animal Hospital
Our team is dedicated to serving your pets. We will do everything we can to be available for you and them. We encourage you to like us on Facebook where we’ll post any updates as they happen. These are some of the common questions we’ve received recently.
Will you remain open?
We have no plans to close or to change our hours. Our colleagues in other countries that have undergone full quarantine have told us that veterinary care has been considered an essential service and they have been allowed to remain open. The American Veterinary Medical Association is lobbying to ensure that the same protections are put in place should we face a similar situation. As you know, we are a small locally owned hospital, and the health of our team members is of utmost importance. If they are showing signs of illness, we will ask that they stay home. At some point, this may impact our schedule, but we’ll be sure to communicate that clearly if it happens.
What are you doing to ensure a clean environment?
Cleanliness and infection control are always an important part of our hospital protocols. In between each appointment, we mop and wipe solid surfaces including chairs with a hospital grade disinfectant. This protocol will not change. We will be using the same hospital grade disinfectant on all lobby furniture and on the reception desk, including credit card processing equipment. This cleaning will be done after every use. Our hospital flow, along with our longer appointment times means that we rarely have people sitting in our lobby for a long time, but we will ask that those remaining in the lobby maintain 6 feet of separation from each other.
What visit options are available?
We are introducing contactless or contact-lite appointments. We ask that if you are ill and your pet needs medical attention that you utilize this contactless appointment system. These appointments will be available to all our clients at your discretion.
Contactless option- Should you wish to pursue a contactless appointment, please let us know prior to your appointment time. When you reach the clinic, you’ll call us and speak to one of our veterinary team who will ask questions about your pet’s medical history. One of our team will then come out to your car to collect your pet and our doctor will perform a full physical exam like normal. You will then receive another call from us to go over the doctor’s findings and discuss any recommendation. We welcome you to stay parked here throughout the appointment or drop your pet off for a longer period and arrange pickup at a later time. These drop-off appointments are available year-round and are a popular option. Our team is very adept at walking through treatment recommendations over the phone. You can trust that no matter what type of visit you plan, your pet will receive the same high level of care that you’ve come to expect from us.