Caring for pets during a pandemic
If you live in Toronto – or in almost any part of North America right now – you’re probably already taking steps to avoid transmitting or catching the COVID-19 coronavirus. You may already be working from home, or ensuring you’re keeping a safe distance from others, avoiding crowded areas – and washing your hands with soap and water a lot.
But what about your pets?
Coronavirus is not transmitted between humans and pets.
So far, there is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted from humans to pets. Researchers have found one dog in Hong Kong who appeared to have COVID-19 cells, but it’s unclear what this means. Right now, it’s reasonably safe to assume that you and your dog or cat can’t pass the virus back and forth, but healthcare professionals are advising that until they know more, you should probably avoid letting your pets lick you on the face, and it’s very important to ensure you’re washing your hands if they come in contact with pet saliva, urine or feces.
Pets, like any other ‘surface’, can carry the virus on their fur. So if you’re out walking your dog, it’s probably a good idea to avoid having other people pet him or her, just in case. (And of course, make sure you’re washing your hands when you get home!)
Regular veterinary appointments
For the time being, LVAH will be continuing to operate as usual with our regular schedule. So if you have an upcoming appointment with us, or you need to make an appointment for your pet’s annual checkups, vaccinations or flea and tick medicines, we’ll be glad to see you.
We always maintain high levels of hygiene in our clinic, of course. Additionally, we are now using cleaners and disinfectants throughout the office which have been certified by Health Canada to be effective in killing coronavirus.
Additionally, for everyone’s safety (and to ensure that we can remain open to treat all our patients), we are recommending the following:
- If you are experiencing any cold/flu symptoms and suspect you may have coronavirus, please reschedule your appointment
- If you have returned to Canada from traveling to any other country, please wait 14 days before bringing your pet to LVAH
- If your pet is experiencing a health emergency but you suspect you are ill, please call us. We will do whatever we can to ensure your pet gets the right attention while minimizing exposure for everyone
- Because we are taking extra precautions with cleaning and sanitizing all treatment rooms and frequently-touched surfaces, it’s possible that we’ll be running behind schedule. Please try to be patient with our efforts to keep everyone safe
- To avoid having to share a crowded waiting room with other people, we’re recommending you call our office before you come so we can advise you of wait times
- Additionally, we’re asking that pets are accompanied by only 1 human per visit – again, this is simply to ensure that our waiting area is never crowded.
If you’re experiencing symptoms but your pet needs attention
If you think you may have coronavirus but know your pet needs attention, please call us. We may be able to arrange a drop-off outside the clinic, or a quick pickup from a car outside, in order to minimize human contact.
Health officials are advising people to make sure they have a month’s worth of medicine on hand, and this goes for pet medicine as well. Please don’t hesitate to call us whether you need a refill on medication from us, or need us to call in a prescription to your drugstore. If you are ill and are unable to leave your home, let us know and we will do our best to get the medicine to you.
Right now, we’re experiencing some shortages on some of our veterinary food in our office, so we would encourage you to call ahead if you want to pick up extra food for your pet. However, we understand that our online store is not experiencing any shortages at this time, so your best bet is to order online and have it delivered.
This could be a great time for you and your pets!
The truth is, your pet may think that the coronavirus is the best thing that’s happened to them: You’re home more, you have more time for long walks in the fresh air, and – if you’re self-isolating – you can spend all the time you used to spend commuting on playing with your pet!
Stay safe, stay healthy – and if you have any questions at all, please call us.