In times of pandemics just like now can be frightening and people are adopting new ways to get about their daily lives. Distancing ourselves physically has become the new norm and everyone is trying their very best in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases and casualties, all this entails not leaving the house and limiting physical contact with other people. And our pets are surely delighted by the amount of time you spend at home playing with them. What do you do when the time comes and they need to go to the vet?
Most veterinary clinics and hospitals say that the only time you should bring your pet in is when it’s sick, and other routinary checks and procedures should be postponed until situations get better. Some veterinarians even do something called telemedicine where you hop into a video conference with your vet to take care of minor health issues and schedule prior in-person check-ups. This article would help you decide if you need to take your pet or postpone a visit to the vet, how to prepare, set expectations, and what are the alternatives if the vet clinic is closed.
Caring for Pets During COVID-19
How to Tell if You Should Bring Your Pet to the Vet Now?
If everyone is distancing themselves physically from one another, how can you determine if you can already bring your pet in or should you postpone it until the pandemic’s gone. Here are general rules that balance the well-being of your pet and mitigating exposure risk of you and your pet to COVID-19.
Bring Your Pet in Right Now if The Following Happens
- Your dog suffers from an open wound.
- If your dog is in pain.
- If it suddenly became weak or showed signs of lameness
- If it ingested known toxins like chocolate, rat poison, antifreeze, raisins, human medications, or Xylitol.
- If it has a history of trauma
- If it struggles to breathe
- If it has an extensive case of diarrhea and vomiting or any other severe distention of the digestive tract.
- If they exhibit hives or swollen face.
- If they show neurological symptoms like tremors, circling, stumbling, seizures, and being disoriented.
- If it struggles to urinate, especially among cats.
- If your cat is refusing to eat for at least a day and it looks a bit yellowish.
- If it suddenly shows abnormal signs or behavior like, bulging eyes, squinting eyes, pale gums, holding the head to one side, and bruising of the body.
Call The Veterinarian to Schedule a Visit if Your Pet
- Coughs with no signs of breathing difficulty.
- Has not eaten at least in 24 hours.
- Sneezes and has watery eyes.
- Vomited one or two times in the last 24 hours.
- Has had diarrhea in under 24 hours but it’s acting fine.
- Is shaking its itchy ears.
Set a Later Appointment if Your Pet
- Developed new bumps or lumps without showing any signs of discomfort.
- Requires annual check-ups or routine bloodwork.
- Has worms in their stool or fleas and ticks but it doesn’t have diarrhea or doesn’t show any signs of discomfort. Consult the vet and request a prescription for a dewormer and anti-flea and tick products.
- Has a torn toenail that does not bleed or cause any discomfort.
The Vet Clinic is Closed, What Now?
Veterinary services are classified by the federal government to be essential, but some clinics still chose to close down in order to protect their workers. Being deemed essential means that veterinary clinics and hospitals are not asked to close down like any other type of business. If a hospital or clinic near you can’t comply with protocols to make them practice safely often chooses to close down.
If Your Vet Decided to Close Their Clinic or Hospital
- Call their number in hopes that they leave a number that refers you to another vet that you can call, you can also check your vet’s website or social media profiles to get this information.
- Ask them in an email for a referral to another vet, it is very likely that they still have someone that’s going to answer emails.
- If none of the two worked, call the local emergency veterinary facility, let them know the condition of your pet and ask if it’s necessary for it to be seen.
What to do if You’re Sick?
If you are sick and you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms ask someone else to help bring your pet to the vet clinic or hospital for you. If you can’t get anyone to help you bring your pet in, call to inform your vet before you bring your pet in to be taken care of. If the veterinarian condoms that you can bring in your pet to the clinic or hospital don’t forget to wear a mask and gloves and to maintain distance with the employees.
What if Your Pet Requires Prescription Medication?
If possible, ask your veterinarian about stocking up for about a 2 to a 3-month supply of necessary prescription medicine as soon as possible, also inquire about an online option for medication delivery to cut the number of times you visit the vet.
What to Prepare Before Visiting The Vet?
1.) Call in Before Coming Into Your Vet’s Office
If your pet is ill, you can call first so the vet can determine if your pet can come in or if it’s even necessary for it to come in, also about the veterinarian’s specific protocols that they have in place to protect you, your pet, and their employees. Here are questions that you may ask:
- Has anyone in the hospital contracted the virus and became ill?
- Do you offer telemedicine for solving minor issues?
- Can you pick up my pet so I don’t have to get out of the car?
- Do you process payment over the phone?
- Can I come with the dog during the examination?
- What are the ways I can communicate with the vet?
Like the Belle Haven Animal Medical Center in Alexandria Virginia, they have put in place protocols that would limit human to human and pet to pet exposure. All the services are administered while the clients are in the comfort of their parking lot.
2.) Follow the Rules
If your vet has imposed specific rules that protect anyone from contracting the virus, they do it to protect you and everyone in the clinic or hospital. Take time to learn the added rules and make sure you follow them. Your pet should also be in a carrier, or at least in a leash.
3.) Keep Prepared
The following things can get you prepared for unforeseen eventualities:
- Take advantage of the time while both you and your pet are still healthy to locate other veterinary hospitals in case your vets are closed.
- Ask your vet for your pet’s medical records.
- Make sure your dog has enough food and medication that would last at least 1 month.
- Make sure that your credit card file is with the vet for when someone has to bring in the pet for you.
- Post numbers for the vet in your home.
- Ask your neighbor if they would be willing to bring your pet to the vet if you get ill.
- Have a pet emergency kit.
- Stay informed about updates regarding COVID-19.