Over the past few days, there has been a lot of health concerns due to COVID-19, as always, the health and safety of the community we serve, our clients, patients, and employees are of utmost importance to us. We wanted to take this time to also ask for the cooperation of our clients and community, as well as share the steps we have taken here in the clinic and answer frequently asked questions clients have called about.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses consisting of multiple subgroups of viruses that are commonly found in humans as well as other mammals, birds, and reptiles. Coronaviruses get their name from their spiked surface proteins, or corona, which is Latin for crown. Coronavirus infections in animals, for example, feline enteric coronavirus, are commonly known as alpha coronaviruses.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a unique coronavirus that infects the human respiratory tract and is different from previously identified coronaviruses infecting humans or veterinary patients. SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19 respiratory disease in humans and is a beta coronavirus.
COVID-19 was first detected in China with an initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan. SARS-CoV-2 is believed to have originated from bats. Since its emergence in late 2019, COVID-19 has spread to locations around the globe.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports, “Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people.” Leading health authorities do not recommend testing pets for the COVID-19 virus as it is primarily transmitted from person to person.
The reference laboratory we use, IDEXX Laboratories, has informed us and shared valuable information. They have “evaluated thousands of canine and feline specimens during validation of a veterinary diagnostic test for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and have seen no positive results in pets for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus strain responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak in humans.”
For dogs or cats presenting with respiratory signs, the recommendation is to contact a veterinarian to test for more common respiratory pathogens.
According to the CDC, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick with COVID-19. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
As of right now, what we normally carry in our pharmacy is in stock with our distributors. We do recommend if your pet is on a certain medication or food for life, give us a call if you will need a refill soon to place the order now to be on the safe side.
NEW PROTOCOL EFFECTIVE MONDAY 3/23/20
We recognize that all of you, like us, are navigating an unprecedented time, a time that, for many, is filled with uncertainty. We think it is important to share how we are proactively planning and preparing to keep operations running smoothly as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.
We are taking precautionary measures to limit the potential spread of the virus, to support our employees in this challenging time and to ensure we maintain our ability to serve you, our clients, for the long term.
Social distancing (of at least 6 feet) cannot be implemented within an exam room. Therefore, as of Monday (3/23/20), we are transitioning to low-contact examinations until further notice. A low-contact examination entails, your pet being collected by a staff member from your vehicle in the parking lot and being brought inside to be examined and for diagnostic procedures to be performed. No clients will be allowed inside the clinic. Exceptions may be made for euthanasias.
These steps are necessary to help keep staff, doctors, animals, and clients safe while continuing to provide critical patient care. These precautions conform with the CDC, state and federal recommendations and current Department of Public Health regulations. These steps will remain in place until the risk of this pandemic has subsided and the supply of personal protective gloves, masks & disinfectants has normalized. Please do not think of us unfriendly if we do not shake your hands as we normally like to do. By avoiding illness and practicing social distancing these measures will allow us to continue offering services as long as possible.
You can still schedule your appointment as you normally would. The changes we are implementing start when you arrive in our parking lot, please give us a call when you arrive.
Though we’re not aware of any presumed cases of coronavirus coming through our clinic, we regularly clean and disinfect our clinic to keep you, your pets and our staff safe. We are disinfecting our reception area every morning before any appointments come in and any time in-between, all exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned between appointments. We are also, trying our best to space out our appointments to minimize wait time whenever possible, we ask that you please be patient as this is new territory for everyone.
We also, please ask if you have a surgical or dental procedure scheduled between now and March 30 to give us a call, as those appointments are recommended to be rescheduled.
As always pets must be on leashes or secured in carriers.
We’re following the CDC’s recommendations as follows:
*Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
*If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
*Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
We please ask all clients and staff members to:
Though we are remaining open during our normal business hours, we are closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and our local health departments regarding COVID–19. We will continue to seek guidance from these agencies and public health officials, and we will update you as new information becomes available.
Thank you for being a loyal Northvale Veterinary Clinic customer and helping us carry out these steps to ensure a continued safe facility for all.