WILMINGTON — Many of us are secluding ourselves to remain healthy during these times, but our pets still need a hand keeping healthy. Luckily, locals are here to help.
For medical needs, the folks at Orchard Veterinary Care are there to help not only pets, but to safeguard people.
Dr. Jackie Gano, a veterinarian at Orchard, told the News Journal the pandemic has had “a drastic impact” on not only them but the veterinary field as a whole.
“Veterinarians across the United States have donated their PPE, including masks, gowns, and gloves to our human healthcare compatriots in an attempt to help with the current shortage,” said Gano.
Many veterinary clinics nationwide, including Orchard Veterinary Care, have also begun delaying elective procedures — including spay/neuter procedures — in order to further help conserve these materials.
“Veterinary clinics play an integral role in society, and despite the current pandemic, pets continue to face many ailments that need immediate veterinary assistance,” said Gano. “As such, many veterinary clinics are implementing protective procedures in an attempt to safeguard both employees and clients. At Orchard Veterinary Clinic, this has come in a variety of forms, from social distancing to ‘curbside service.’”
As for the “curbside service” for patients that need to be seen, they ask the clients to wait in their car while a staff member brings the animal in for an exam. The veterinarian then examines the patient and talks to the owner outside at their car about the case while trying to maintain social distancing.
This allows them to lower both staff and client exposure and hopefully help prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to her.
Due to the concern for higher susceptibilities in certain individuals, several staff members have elected to stay at home. Those remaining have been practicing social distancing to the extent they’re capable of and employing common sanitation techniques, including cleaning surfaces and constantly washing hands, to further limit the risk of spread and checking employee temperatures daily.
Also, they’ve been able to utilize services such as telemedicine and online medication/food orders.
“On a case-by-case basis with a valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship we have been able to help several patients without having them step foot inside of the clinic, filling medications over the phone and through our online store, further helping to protect our clients,” she said.
Her advice for pet owners is that now is a great idea to prepare not only an “emergency kit” for yourself in case of quarantine or self-isolation, but for your pet as well.
“This kit should include at least two weeks of your pet’s food and any medications they may currently be taking. As of this point in time, there are no reports that pets, including dogs and cats, can become ill with or spread SARS-CoV-2. However, due to an abundance of caution, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that individuals that become sick limit contact with their pets as much as possible,” she said.
Her final word to local pet owners is that “we’ll be able to get through this together” — and they’ll be there to help the pets.