COVID-19 and Your Pet

By March 13, 2020 November 26th, 2020 Blog

The novel coronavirus infection causing COVID-19 has escalated to pandemic status. Business, schools, and emergency rooms across the world are taking necessary precautions in attempts to curb the spread of this highly contagious virus.

Due to Covid-19, we have created policies to keep staff, clients and patients safe.  We have created these new policies to ensure we can remain open to continue to provide emergency care for our patients; otherwise emergencies may have to be sent out of town.  Please see below for our hospital policies regarding communication, COVID-19 screening, admitting patients, billing and wait times.

Communication

  • We are only communicating by phone so please bring a fully charged cell phone &/or car charger  
  • If you don’t have a cell phone, let us know by the intercom and we’ll lend you a walkie-talkie. 

Screening

Our staff will ask you the following COVID-19 screening questions.  Your answers will not affect your pet’s ability to be seen but allows us to take precautions to protect our staff and other patients.

  • Has anyone in contact with your pet traveled out of the country in the last 14 days?
  • Is anyone in contact with your pet exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19 such as coughing, fever or shortness of breath?
  • Has anyone been tested /quarantined for COVID-19?
  • Does anyone in contact with your pet work in the healthcare or in agricultural industry?

Admitting Patients

Clients are not permitted in the building for any reason, including euthanasia.  When you arrive please call the hospital from your cell phone or use the intercom at the front entrance. 

  • If your pet is experiencing a critical life-threatening emergency (such as difficulty giving birth for over an hour, major life-threatening trauma, collapse, heat stroke, seizures, recent toxin/foreign object ingestion, dog trying to vomit but not able, male cat that can’t urinate, difficulty breathing etc.) please let us know and our staff will arrange to have your pet brought in immediately for triage with a Registered Veterinary Technician.
  • If your pet is experiencing a non-life threatening emergency, we will contact you to bring your pet in for triage as soon as possible, please let us know if your pet’s status changes .
  • Staff will instruct you on the phone, walkie-talkie, or intercom on bringing your pet in the building.
  • After triage, depending on our wait times and your pets’ status as determined by the triage technician, we will either have you wait in the parking lot or, if space permits, have your pet stay with us offering you the opportunity to leave. 
  • If your pet stays with us, there will be no charges unless authorized by you, they will be offered food and water (if appropriate) and the chance to relieve themselves
  • When it is your pet’s turn, the Veterinarian will call you to discuss history, exam findings, and recommendations for testing or treatment and associated costs
  • If you are bringing a large breed dog in or a pet that may require assistance getting to our vestibule, please remember to bring someone who can assist you if possible
  • If you are bringing a pet for euthanasia, please call to discuss the process with staff.

Billing

  • Payments of bills and deposits can be done preferably over the phone by credit card or using the debit machine in the vestibule as we are not able to accept cash or cheque at this time
  • Payment in full is due at the time that services are done, we can’t extend credit but loans for care can be arranged by applying for credit at paybright.ca

Wait Times

Unfortunately due to a high volume of emergency cases and shortage of doctors and staff we are experiencing longer than normal wait times.  Our priority is seeing critically ill patients experiencing life-threatening emergencies immediately.  All other patients will be triaged by staff as quickly as possible and will be examined in order by a doctor as soon as possible.  We will let you know your place in line but please be aware that this can change if critical life-threatening emergencies come in or arise in hospital.  We prioritize case handling and surgeries depending on the resources and information that we have available.  If your regular veterinarian is open, you are welcome to call them or another veterinary hospital and see if they can fit you in sooner.

We welcome feedback on our care and these changes, however, abuse of Walker Road Animal Staff members will not be tolerated and may result in refusal of care.

Thank you for your patience and trust,

Staff and Management of Walker Road Animal Hospital

Can my pet catch COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are divided into three groups, with many different strains of viruses that have been known to cause various diseases in a wide range of animal species. These diseases have been known for over 50 years, and are different from the emerging COVID-19 virus. While COVID-19 may have originally emerged from animal origin, the virus is being spread through person-to-person contact.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been no reports of animals or pets becoming sick with the COVID-19 virus. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including dogs, can spread the COVID-19 virus to humans. However, it is important to remember that other infectious diseases can be spread from animals to humans, and so it is always a good idea to practice good hygiene and wash your hands after handling animals.

The CDC is recommending that pet owners restrict their contact with their pets and other animals if they are experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, or if they are confirmed positive as a carrier of the virus.

As per the CDC:

“Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick.

If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.”

Walker Road Animal Hospital is committed to the wellbeing of our patients, clients, and staff. We appreciate your cooperation as we work hard to limit the spread of COVID-19.

 

 

For updated information on animals and COVID-19, please review the following websites and resources:

Centre for Disease Control
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq

Public Health Agency of Canada
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/emerging-respiratory-pathogens/coronavirus-animals.html

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html

World Health Organization
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
https://www.ovma.org/veterinarians/coronavirus-faq/

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