Pets not at risk for catching COVID-19, local veterinary’s are changing check-in procedures

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Many pet owners may be wondering what to do if their pet needs medical help, or wondering how they would get their pet to the veterinary if they came down with COVID-19 related symptoms. They may also be wondering if their pets are in danger from catching the virus.

The New York State Veterinary Medical Society hosted a webinar with Alison Stout, a DVM working on her PhD at Cornell University. She says there is no definitive evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted to pets. But, she urges caution because pets fur could become contaminated by droplets (the main source of transmission for COVID-19) in the same way hard surfaces are. The CDC says the same thing on it’s website.

There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.

Centers for Disease Control

Local veterinary hospitals are reaching out to pet owners through social media, giving them guidance about what to do if their pet needs to be seen. In most cases that includes car check-in/check-out while pet owners wait in their vehicle for their pet to be examined.

Dr. Nicole LaMora from Brunswick Veterinary Hospital said their clients are being instructed to check in from their vehicles. Once a client arrives, a veterinary staff member takes the pet inside to conduct the exam. A doctor will then call the client and go over the findings. Clients then check out over the phone with the receptionist and a staff member returns the pet to the owner.

“In these times, we’re just trying to do everything we can to help,” said Dr. Alan Knott co-owner of Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital in Clifton Park. Knott said veterinarians take an oath to help animals but they also take an oath to protect public health which is why his practice has also begun “curbside concierge” to protect staff and clients. For those pet owners diagnosed with COVID-19, he suggests that they designate someone else to be the primary caregiver for pets while they are sick.

Veterinary’s are currently being told not to perform routine surgeries including spay/neuter to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE), Knott said. Although veterinary’s are considered essential and will not be forced to close, a surge in patients with COVID-19 would make it difficult for veterinary’s to get PPE for necessary procedures. Priority would be given to hospitals and healthcare providers.

Capital Vets has four locations in the Capital Region: Troy Veterinary Hospital; Latham Animal Hospital; Drum Veterinary Hospital in Castleton; Catskill Animal Hospital. They are instructing their clients who do not feel well to remain in their vehicles through their Facebook pages. “If you are sick and come to the hospital with an ill or injured patient, please stay in your car and call us for assistance.”

Shaker Animal Hospital is also checking in clients from their vehicles. They are also asking clients to remain in their cars for medication and food pick up, saying a staff member will bring it out to them.

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