Hi everyone, I’m Dr. Maggie Schroeder and I was lucky enough to join the amazing team at Columbia City Vet Hospital at the beginning of the year. I graduated from Washington State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017 and have been in private practice for almost 3 years. My career started out at a 24-hour hospital where we saw a lot of emergencies and referral cases. With this background in emergency and critical care, it takes a lot to rattle my cage. However, I must say that I’m just as shaken up about this COVID-19 pandemic as I’m sure many of you are. So, I wanted to discuss the coronavirus and how it relates to our hospital and furry patients.
First of all, I’m relieved that veterinary clinics are being considered an ‘essential business’ so that we can continue to care for your fur babies. As long as we are able to keep enough of our staff healthy, our goal is to keep our doors open in order to see sick pets. We are not booking well pet appointments such as annual exams at this time. We have taken measures to minimize the risk of transmitting infection and preserve personal protective equipment. We have changed our workflow in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. As you may know if you’ve been in recently, we are having pets dropped off at the front of the clinic for their exam. Then, we are calling our clients with our findings, the treatment plan, and to get checked out over the phone before picking up their little one.
One of my biggest concerns with this emerging disease has been whether I need to worry about my adorable patients getting sick with coronavirus. This is a fair question, as according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the novel betacoronavirus that causes COVID-19 appears to have its origin in bats and to have been transmitted from animal-to-person at a live animal market in Wuhan, China. So, the question is, can it be passed from humans to the animals we live with? In February, a Pomeranian in Hong Kong, belonging to an owner whom was diagnosed with COVID-19, tested ‘weak positive’ for the presence of the viral RNA. In March, a German Shepherd dog in a similar situation has also tested positive. Neither dog has shown signs of disease; both are in quarantine and are continuing to be monitored and tested.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) there haven’t been any cases of dogs or cats developing illness due to COVID-19 and there is no evidence that they can spread the virus. Also, animals are not very effective fomites because their fur is a ‘porous surface’ which absorbs and traps the virus making it harder to transmit from a simple touch than smooth surfaces such as countertops and doorknobs.
The situation is ever-evolving, so out of an abundance of caution it is recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to limit contact with animals if you are ill with COVID-19. If there is someone else at home who is well, you may have them provide care for your pet. If you have a service animal or otherwise must care for your pet, you should wear a facemask, wash your hands regularly, and limit contact as much as possible.
I hope that you and your furry friends stay healthy and that Columbia City Vet will be able to return to business as usual soon!
Written by Dr. Maggie Schroeder – Columbia City Veterinary Hospital
COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) REVISED WORKFLOW PLAN
In light of social distancing, community efforts to flatten the curve and Governor Inslee’s “Stay at Home” orders, we have tightened up our workflow with curbside service through our “closed-lobby/drop-off” policies. All appointments and procedures are to be done using our current “curbside” system using our leash leads/reducing contact as much as possible. We kindly ask that our clients follow the steps below for the safety of all:
· If you are healthy and have an appointment, upon arrival at our clinic, PLEASE REMAIN IN YOUR VEHICLE AND CALL US (OR AT THE DOOR IF YOU’RE ON FOOT). After receipt of the call, we will check-in your pet as soon as possible from outside of the clinic (at the door/near your vehicle keeping social distancing in mind). We kindly ask that you remain in your car (or drop your pet off) during the entire time your pet is receiving medical care at our facility. The doctor/team will coordinate by phone to discuss symptoms/concerns, the exam findings, treatment options and take payment prior to discharging your pet.
· If you need to pick up food or medication, PLEASE REMAIN IN YOUR VEHICLE AND CALL US (OR AT THE DOOR IF YOU’RE ON FOOT). We will coordinate payment with you over the phone and deliver the order to the door as soon as possible.
· If your pet requires urgent care or has a medical emergency, and you are ill or experiencing flu-like symptoms, please make arrangements with a friend or family member to bring in the pet for you. We kindly ask that you call us ahead of time to make appropriate arrangements and follow the above guidelines.
The team at Columbia City Vet feels incredibly blessed to work with such a passionate, smart, dedicated group of individuals. Thank you for your commitment to your pet’s health. We will be continuously re-evaluating the best way to provide urgent care to our pets in this community as this situation evolves. Please stay tuned for further updates.
Thank you for your support for our team and community,
Columbia City Veterinary Hospital – Leadership Team