IF YOU DON’T READ ANYTHING ELSE, PLEASE AT LEAST READ THESE POINTERS:
Please stay in your car and keep your dog leash.
Use carriers for small pets.
Call when you arrive.
We will take the history over the phone then a nurse will come get your sweetie.
Please let us know if you have had exposure to Covid19.
On March 19th, we instituted "Curbside Care". (The picture here was on our first day of curbside care on March 19th---We soon added facial shields and surgery caps and now maintain social distance even inside our clinic as much as possible! That's Nurse Dori on the left and Nurse Jane on the right.)
So, just what is "Curbside Care"?
All of the TVC staff will be wearing PPE of mask and cap and face shield and gown. Clients stay in the parking lot, typically in their cars so they can stay cool in their air conditioning of the car. For clients who must leave their car, we maintain 6 feet social distancing.
We will ask clients to wear masks once they are allowed back into the clinic. We do not know when this will be but likely when we've a vaccine for Covid19 available. Why so long? Because we can contain potential contamination better when only our trained staff is within our clinic! Between our doctors and nurses combined we have over a hundred years of experience with decontamination of contagious disease. We are treating everyone we meet as we would treat a dog patient who has parvo. We are used to bleach foot baths and disinfection techniques that few laypeople have experienced. I mean to tell you, we have dishpan hands and are quite warm wearing the gowns and masks and face shields we repeatedly disinfect.
A dear client and friend has offered his time as a taxi service for your pet if your pet is ill. Call us if you are over 65 or immunocompromised and need help with an ill pet. You will stay home and he will bring your pet you the clinic. On Saturday, March 28th the Florida Surgeon General recommended that all people age 65 or older stay in their homes.
We will keep our distance! The government recommends 6 feet and except for a hand off of a pet, we are adhering to this social distancing.
If you need recurrent medication or pet food, rather than come into the clinic we can set you up with online delivery through our website. It will be delivered to your home. The staff can easily make you an account as Vets First Choice / Covetrus syncs with our veterinary software. You click on the email sent to you by Vets First Choice / Covetrus, tell them how you wish to pay and it is delivered to your front door. Easy. Please do NOT over run my staff with requests from Chewy. Those Chewy requests means Heather needs to print it, have a doctor sign it and scan it then email it back. I’m so over Chewy requests! Help us stay afloat in this scary financial time by using the pharmacy on our website instead of forcing me to pay my staff for busy work. If somehow my staff gets ill (despite our rigid disinfection protocols and otherwise sheltering at home), I cannot authorize those Chewy nor Pet Meds scripts from home. If you use our website pharmacy, I can authorize those requests from my home. I have instructed the staff to do their best to convince clients to convert prescription requests from other online pharmacies to OUR online pharmacy so save my staff unnecessary busy work and so we can authorize requests remotely if needed. Until Covid19 I really only had our online pharmacy for the convenience of our snowbird clients or for pet food sales. Now we actually need it to keep our seniors and immunocompromised clients safe and in their homes until we have beat this virus.
Please notify us if you have had any exposure to a Covid19 patient! If at all possible we will try a telemedicine appointment. If the appointment mandates an examination in the clinic, we will still see your pet, but we will wipe your pet down with activated hydrogen peroxide. (Not to worry, I've been using activated hydrogen peroxide wipes in my gym bag for years---It's non-toxic and many a time I've wiped my own face with it.) Activated hydrogen peroxide is NOT regular hydrogen peroxide.
You will keep your dog's leash or harness. We prefer that small dogs and cats come in pet carriers. PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR.
Heather will call you for payment over the phone (with a credit or debit card) when we’ve finished the exam. We are trying to avoid cash as it could carry Covid19.
Please, stay at home unless your career is "essential" for our society to function. We are all responsible for each other's safety. We are in this together. We are responsible for everyone's health, particularly our beloved seniors. If we didn’t love your pets, we’d be at home, too! We see veterinary medical care as essential. We are the first line of defense in the extremely unlikely event that this becomes an issue for pets. There was a 17 year old Pomeranian and a 2 year old German Shephard, both in China, that tested positive without clinical signs, but thus far it appears to be a human problem. There have also been 3 cats that tested positive who also belonged to Covid19 patients. These 2 dogs and 3 cats tested positive but showed no illness related to Covid19. There has been one pug in the US who got sick from his family but improved quickly. PLEASE DO NOT FEAR your pets! Of the hundreds of thousands of humans with this disease worldwide, it appears to be highly improbable that your pet is any risk to you!! The virus can only live on a pet's fur for 6 to 12 hours per the AVMA because their fur is a porous surface. The AVMA is looking into such concerns. It only makes sense that you shouldn't have strangers pet your dog when you go for a walk. If YOU test positive, please practice social distancing with your pet just as you would a human. We don't treat ferrets at TVC, but they are a species who could contract Covid19, so if you become ill with Covid19 please socially distance from your ferret until you are better.
Updated May 24th, 2020
You'll want to stay away from the beach til this settles down:
Dr Scott Weese (a veterinarian at the University of Ontario) has a Worms and Germs blog. This infectious disease guru has very up to date information on Covid19 and dogs and cats! He has written that ferrets can potentially get sick from Covid19. Of the hundreds of thousands of ill humans, 2 dogs in China and 1 cat in Belgium (whose owner visited Italy) have colonized with Covid19. NONE OF THESE PETS ACTED ILL FROM THE COVID19. Do not fear your pets but if you contract Covid19 please socially distance yourself from your pets just as you would from humans. There was also a tiger in the Bronx zoo who tested positive. There will no doubt be papers forthcoming, and Dr Weese' worms and germs blog below is fantastic:
A good summary from Dr Weese is as follows:
The take home messages remain the same:
- If you’re sick, stay away from animals.
- Keep your animals away from other people or animals. Social distancing applies to the whole household, not just the human members.
- Your own pet poses virtually no risk to you. If my cat is infected, he got it from me (in which case I’m already infected) or my family (who pose a much greater risk of transmission to me than the cat). If we keep pets with us but socially distanced from others, we don’t need to worry about them as sources of infection outside of the household.
And now for a few glimmers of hope...
There are several vaccines in production, but they must go through clinical trials. They had a head start because they were already working on a vaccine for SARS CoV1 and MERS. Bless the Chinese scientist who figured out the genetic sequence to SARS CoV2 and posted it on the internet a few months ago for all the scientists of the world to use!!
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Small Animal Veterinary Association
AVMA's dedicated Covid19 site:
AAHA Covid19 updates:
AAHA practice tips from AAHA members:
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
The World Health Organization:
United States Department of Agriculture FAQ on companion animal testing:
University of Florida:
Other info you may find helpful below...
FVMA Operating Protocols During COVID-19 - March 24, 2020
With the COVID-19 crisis growing, many practices have changed the way they operate. In an effort to help disseminate useful information to our members, we've complied protocols that your practice may want to consider implementing, if you have not done so already. These protocols are meant to serve as a template so that you can pick and choose ideas that will work for you — or that can be adapted to your particular operation. We hope these strategies will help you, your staff and your clients stay as safe as possible during this stressful time.
Prioritize appointments. Some practices now prioritize urgent and sick-pet visits over wellness visits—young animal vaccination schedules not included. Veterinarians should keep in mind Executive Order 20-72, issued by Governor Ron DeSantis on March 20, 2020 that directs all medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedures or surgeries be delayed. While the governor’s order does not specify veterinary medicine, the FVMA recommends that veterinarians defer elective procedures, that in their judgement are not necessary, to help reduce human-to-human contact and conserve PPE.
Communicate new protocol to clients. Many practices are shifting to a curbside model where:
*Clients call from the parking lot on arrival *Team members shuttle pets to the facility and back *Clients stay in their cars *Conversations happen by phone as needed
When making this shift: *Explain the change when appointments are made *Email all clients about the process *Post on social media about the change *Reiterate the changes to the clients when they arrive *Share how the new protocol is working and any adjustments that have been made on social media to keep your clients up-to-date
Set appropriate exceptions to new protocols that work for you. Consider new euthanasia protocols and offer exceptions (critical cases, young animals, or patients with special needs).
When handling deliveries and lab samples, consider:
*Having deliveries left outside
*Wearing gloves to carry and unpack boxes
*Putting all lab samples in outside pick-up boxes, so that drivers don’t have to come inside
Adjust hours of operation.Shortening hours of operation can allow for additional sanitizing time. In these particularly difficult times, it could also help prevent burnout.
In addition to new operating protocols, it is important to do the following:
*Practice good hygiene. Review CDC guidelines.