Some questions have arisen which we would like to address. We look to the “American Veterinary Medical Association” and the “National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Compendium of Standard Practices or NASPHV” for the answers.
Answer: Healthcare professionals are being asked to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE). All healthcare professionals need to adopt strategies that will allow them to conserve PPE as much as possible, including veterinarians. We do wash and disinfect before we go out to your car and after we have brought your pet into the hospital. Additionally, we are wiping down leashes, collars, crates, etc. with an anti-viral treatment. NASPHV reports “Transmission via touching a contaminated surface or object (i.e., a fomite) and then touching the mouth, nose, or possibly eyes is also possible, but appears to be a secondary route. Smooth (non-porous) surfaces (e.g., countertops, door knobs) transmit viruses better than porous materials (e.g., paper money, pet fur) because porous, especially fibrous, materials absorb and trap the pathogen (virus), making it harder to contract through simple touch. At this time, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets.”
Answer: To date the CDC has not received any reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States. Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations continue to agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that, under natural conditions, pets spread COVID-19 to people. We are aware of isolated cases outside of the U.S. as well as the SARS-CoV-2 in one tiger, at a zoo in New York, but to date the NASPHV states, “there is also no evidence that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, can spread COVID-19 to people.”
3) Question: During this pandemic, should I stay away from my pet?
Answer: If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your animals as you normally would, including feeding and otherwise caring for them. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your animals, including handling of food, supplies, and waste; keep feed, water, and any supplies used to deliver them clean; remove soiled bedding and replace as appropriate).
*Out of an abundance of caution and until more is known about this virus, if you are ill with COVID-19 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. If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, including pets, wear a cloth facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
We continue to keep health and safety our number one priority. In this regard, we need your help in a couple of areas. Please do not bring your pet to the Pet Vet if you have any flu like symptoms. If you are symptomatic, please ask someone else to bring your pet. *Again, if you are concerned you may have COVID19, refer to the instructions listed in the previous paragraph. If you are driving to the Pet Vet, please call us from the parking lot so we can address your needs. If we don’t answer immediately, wait a few minutes and call again. We are making every effort to answer the first time but sometimes find that our entire staff is working with another patient. Help us maintain social distancing by not coming to the door. If you are bringing your pet for an appointment, stay in the car until you have reached us by telephone. If you plan on waiting in the parking lot, while we care for your pet, remember to protect your car battery. We’ve had several clients leaving lights on or listening to the radio while waiting and find themselves unable to start their cars again.
All cats must arrive in a crate or carrier. If you do not have one, we will provide a cardboard carrier for a nominal fee. If your cat has a history of being anxious or experiences nausea while in the car, let us know in advance. We may have some treatment options before you leave the house. If you are arriving with your dog, we will use one of our own leashes to bring them inside. Please let us know if your pet has fear, anxiety or aggression issues. This will help us to enhance the care we provide while focusing on their individual needs.
During this time, we can find comfort with our pets and have fun too. This is a great time to consider playing more games, taking more photos or increase obedience training. There are also food puzzles, pet toys and extra time for grooming. Our stress levels can affect our pets. Develop a healthy routine and remember to speak with a calm, patient, confident attitude. Taking care of our own mental and physical health is one way to create a safe environment for our pets.
Please don’t hesitate to call us (509) 928-PETS (7387). We are here for you.
Drs. Clark, Schulken and The Entire Pet Vet Team