Dear Pet Parents,
We hope you are doing well, staying healthy, and enjoying the companionship of a furry friend during these unusual times. As always, we are concerned for the health of your pets, and now there are unusual concerns for the health of our clients and staff, due to COVID-19. To help protect your health as well as that of our staff, we are asking clients to let us know if you can answer yes to any of the following questions. If so, when keeping an appointment, please plan to have a healthy relative or friend bring your pet, park behind our building in the gravel parking lot, and call our office from your car at 828-891-4848 so we can send a staff member to bring your pet inside to care for him/her.
-Do you or anyone in your household have a fever OR respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath?
-Have you traveled to an affected geographic area within the past 14 days (China, Iran, S Korea, Europe, cruise ship or high risk sites in the US)?
-Have you had close contact with a person who traveled to an affected area recently or has COVID-19?
If you prefer to not enter our building, you may also plan to park behind the building in the gravel parking lot, and call our office to let us know you have arrived. These measures are an effort to protect the health of staff and clients, while still caring for the health needs of your pets.
In addition to the above precautions, we are following recommendations from the CDC. We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces, and as always, all exam rooms are disinfected between patients with a healthcare grade disinfectant. We encourage you to maintain 6 feet of space between people while in our office, and stay home if you are sick. In addition, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, use a tissue or your elbow to cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face, and disinfect frequently used items or surfaces.
Current information indicates pets cannot get COVID-19. If a household member is sick, it is recommended that the sick person avoid contact with the pet. From the AVMA website:
“Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.”
If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 affecting pets, the AVMA has an excellent resource at https://www.avma.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/covid-19-faq-pet-owners_031620.pdf.
There are also recommendations to help prevent rapid spread of the virus at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf.
We are closely monitoring the recommendations and updates from the CDC, AVMA and local public health offices to determine if other measures are needed, and we will keep you informed if these change. Thank you for your support and patience as we all navigate this unique challenge.
In good health,
Christine Weaver, DVM and the staff of Health Care For Pets Hospital