Early in the novel coronavirus, aka, COVID19, pandemic in the United States, when little was still known about its full implications, the Grant Animal Clinic doctors and medical team never wavered from their commitment to serving the health care needs of our patients and our beloved clients who love them. Unable to social distance in the waiting room and exam rooms, we began by serving our clients curbside donning masks for our clients’ protection in early March, 2020.
Our technicians would take medical history and transport the patient inside. The attending veterinarian would examine the patient inside, come out donning a mask to speak to the client curbside about his/her findings and recommended diagnostic and treatment plan. Once approved, all diagnostics and treatments would be administered within the clinics treatment area, the patient returned to the owner curbside, and the client checked out curbside. All medication and prescription diet refills were also done curbside with curbside delivery and payment completed by our technicians curbside.
All of these guidelines were put put forth by the (Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and also adopted by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA). Since the CDC changed their position on masks, in addition to the measures above, we have also adopted a policy of the medical team wearing masks at all time within the building and while interacting with clients at all times.
While these measures have kept us safe and able to continue to stay open to see to the health care of our patients and needs of our clients, they have not come without their challenges. Nervous pets may have more difficulty with the veterinary experience without the owner in close proximity (although, surprisingly in some cases, the pet has done better without the owner present). As summer set in, stifling heat and humidity has been uncomfortable for medical staff constantly walking in and out of the building wearing masks, necessitating our medical team to remain ever cognizant to drink plenty of water at every free (often rare) moment to maintain hydration and keep from overheating. Afternoon summer thundershowers further complicate the heat and hydration issue with staff having to wear rain gear over their scrubs.
Although our client base has been incredibly gracious and understanding, pet owners sometimes have justifiable anxiety over their pet going into the building without them. This can be especially difficult for new clients who are not yet familiar with our doctors and medical team. As frustrated as owners may be, rest assured that we share your frustration, as we would far prefer having you and your pets in our building together.
To date, navigating how we best see to the needs of our patients while keeping out clients and medical team safe has been a team effort that includes that patience and good will of our clients. We not only thank our clients for the gracious role they have contributed to our effort, we salute the heroism of our staff that have accepted the risk to themselves and their families, never once having hesitated to report to work and do what they do best – enhance and save the lives of our community’s furry innocents.
This too shall pass. Until it does, we salute all parties – clients included – for staying the course to ensure the health of our pets.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. He is the author of The Man In The White Coat: A Veterinarian’s Tail Of Love. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a globally recognized expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , general partner of Grant Animal Clinic, and runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care. Dr. Welton fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.