Cat at Clinic with Vet Technician

THE NEW NORMAL OF PET CARE: 10 TIPS TO PREPARE FOR YOUR NEXT VET VISIT

10/20/20

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we live, work, and interact.  Mundane tasks like grocery shopping or grabbing a quick bite now require careful consideration and present unique challenges. However, throughout these changes, your veterinary care team is still accessible. Even though a visit to your vet’s office may look very different, the focus remains on your pet’s health, wellness, and comfort.

What to Expect at the Vet?

With the new restrictions, veterinary hospitals must consider the risk of virus transmissions. For many, this means managing the flow of client traffic. Ideally, the goal is protecting their clients and care team by avoiding the three Cs of COVID-19: closed spaces, crowded situations, and close contact. Veterinary offices typically have small waiting areas and compact exam rooms. Limiting occupancy by restricting client access to the building is essential for safety. As a result, the hospital may prohibit you from entering.  Doctors may communicate with you via phone or email before or during appointments.

In some cases, a phone call may be all that is required to take care of your pet’s needs.  If your pet requires a physical examination, tests, procedures, or injections, you may be asked to hand your pet to a staff member while you wait outside.  Regardless, your pet is in excellent hands. Further instructions and communications will come after the exam or procedure is complete. 

Here is a list of ten essential preparations for your pet’s next trip to the veterinarian:

  • Call Ahead – Regardless of why you are coming by, your veterinary team needs advance notice. In some regions, vets can only be seen by appointment. Even in an emergency, the team must be expecting your arrival.  Additionally, many hospitals are operating with altered hours, reduced staff, and inventory shortages.  Call ahead to avoid disappointment.
  • Prioritize Concerns – Given the length of an appointment, your veterinarian can only address your top one or two problems.  Ensure your vet is aware of all your pet’s signs and symptoms but be prepared to decide the most critical concerns. Schedule a future appointment to address any additional issues.  Never wait for your pet’s annual vaccine appointment to discuss illness concerns.
  • Write It Down – To stay organized and clarify your goals, create a list or email your concerns before the appointment.  Document all the signs or symptoms you observed and the duration of the problems. Disclose all medications, supplements, and foods your pet is receiving, including dose, strength, and frequency.
  • Send One Human – As part of the effort to reduce person-to-person contact, only one human family member (of legal age in your province) should accompany your pet. They need to be confident about making health care decisions. Equally as important, they should be healthy and not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Before visiting, check your clinic website to see for any self-screening measures required.
  • Bring a Cell Phone – Throughout the appointment process, a cellphone is vital to communicating with your vet.  You don’t want to miss any vital call from the care team. Keep the ringer turned up while you wait outside.  Also, bring a pen and paper for notetaking any advice or instructions from the team.
  • Bring a Collar, Leash and Carrier – Transporting your pet to the clinic can be dangerous if they are not securely restrained.  You can reduce the risk of escapes and injuries by bringing your pet wearing a collar and leash or via a reliable pet carrier.
  • Pack PPE – It may be necessary to enter the clinic. In anticipation, always bring a mask or face covering and use hand sanitizer.  Follow any signage, providing guidelines on moving around the clinic and observing physical distancing.  It will help keep you safe and protect the clinic staff, ensuring they can continue serving you. Be cooperative about safety measures and participate in clinic contract-tracing logs where required.
  • Follow Up – Before the end of your appointment, make sure you understand all the information and instructions you receive.  Ask questions, speak up, or request an emailed summary if there is any uncertainty.  Your veterinary team wants you and your pet to succeed.
  • Payment Method – Many clinics are reducing contact by emphasizing or requiring electronic forms of payment.  Come prepared for contactless payment with credit cards, debit cards, or potentially, electronic transfers.  
  • Practice Patience – Changes can be unsettling and frustrating for you, and your veterinary care team understands.  Meanwhile, the team also has their fears and frustrations. Despite this, they strive to deliver high-quality care safely.  Please display patience and understanding of your front-line veterinary team.

Many pet owners worry about their pets when they are out of sight. Rest easy, knowing that verterinarians, veterinary technicians, and support staff have devoted their lives to animal comfort. They handle anxious animals and their owners every day, prepare for the unexpected, and work efficiently. effectively. Your pet is in good hands!

Written by: Dr. Sperry, DVM, Veterinary Advisor, Pets Plus Us

 

The information provided and contained herein are the opinions of PTZ Insurance Services Ltd. which are based on external publication. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice.  PTZ Insurance Services Ltd. assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss, claims or damages arising out of the within content.