To our valued clients,
We understand there is significant anxiety regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that at this stage, there does not appear to be a risk of transmission from our pets to people. This is being closely monitored, but at this stage, we recommend normal hygienic practice after handling your pets (hand washing with normal soap and water for 20 seconds or longer). Our practice is committed to health and safety of both our team, and our clients. This situation is constantly changing, and we will provide ongoing updates to keep you informed. We are getting advice from the World Health Organisation, The Australian Veterinary Association, The Department of Health and other sources to keep up to date with the situation. We have already instituted some guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19 within our practice. Our team will be following these guidelines and expect visiting clients to also follow these. At this stage it is business as usual unless we are directed to do otherwise. We want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in our clinic. We want to ensure the protection of the elderly, immunocompromised and others that are vulnerable in our community. To do so we need your help.
The measures we have introduced are:
1. Please call the clinic to postpone your appointment if you are unwell, if you have been directed to self-isolate or if you have been in contact with a positive case. If the appointment is urgent, please find someone to bring the pet to us, or call us for further advice. Please advise us if you have tested positive or your pet has been in contact with anyone who has been high risk or tested positive so we can take appropriate measures to protect our team, while offering the best possible care to your pet.
2. We have instituted a new system of “no contact consultations” so that there are no visitors entering the clinic building. Upon arrival at the clinic, we request that you remain behind the marked area around the front door and ring the bell to alert the receptionist to your arrival. A nurse or handler wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) will retrieve your pet using our lead to enter the clinic for examination by the vet. Please ensure cats are within a sturdy travel box. The vet will speak you via mobile phone to answer any questions that you may have. Once the consultation is complete, payment will be taken and your pet returned to you with any paperwork or medications which may be required.
3. Seating will be provided out the front of the clinic with appropriate separation, alternatively you are welcome to wait in your vehicle.
4. We request that only one person per visit attend the clinic to assist in maintaining social distancing. Please keep 2 metres apart from other clients. No handshaking or deliberate physical contact with our team members please.
5. Please use appropriate cough etiquette and hand hygiene.
6. Click and collect: We encourage pre-payment for all over the counter purchases by paying over the phone. We can also deliver the goods to the car park if you call and let us know you have arrived, or ring the bell at the front door and your purchases will be brought out to you.
7. We have a home delivery service available to clients who are unable to leave the house.
8. Our staff are also cleaning our door handles, phones, Eftpos machines, keyboards and surfaces on a regular basis throughout the day with appropriate disinfectants.
9. Payment is preferred to use over the phone pre-payments or tap and go if possible. We would prefer to not handle cash if other payment options are available.
This time is full of uncertainty. We want to remain healthy ourselves so we can provide the essential care to your pets. But most of all, we want to keep the vulnerable members of our population safe and healthy. If the measures we take prevents infection in any single person, then we are happy to comply. We thank you for your patience and understanding during these unusual circumstances. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at the clinic.
Advice from the Australian Veterinary Association to pet owners regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that infect birds and mammals, including humans. They are often associated with the common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia, and can also affect the gut. The virus that causes COVID-19 is also a coronavirus and likely originated from a wildlife reservoir.
Canine coronavirus, which can cause diarrhoea, and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), have been seen by veterinarians for many years. They do not cause infections in humans. These coronaviruses are not associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Can COVID-19 infect pets?
There have been reports from Hong Kong that a dog owned by a patient with COVID-19 has tested positive to the presence of the virus in its nose and mouth. This is may be a case of human to animal transmission, however the dog’s first blood tests have been negative. At this stage there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats are a source of infection to other animals or humans. We are continuing to monitor this situation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
As the outbreak continues, a number of pet owners will be placed in quarantine, either with confirmed COVID-19 infection or due to exposure. We know that your pet is part of your family and you will want them to have the same level of protection and care as any other family member. Current information suggests there is no apparent risk to you or your pet from being in quarantine with you.
However, we do advise all pet owners continue to practice appropriate hand hygiene before and after handling their pet, their food and washing food/water bowls. At no stage should pet owners do anything that may compromise the welfare of their pets. We suggest minimising close contact with your pet during this time, such as hugging, face to face contact or sleeping on your bed.
What do I do if I am in quarantine or self-isolation and my pet is unwell?
If you are in quarantine, do not break quarantine to take your pet to the veterinarian even if your pet is unwell. By doing this you will put your veterinarian and staff at risk of infection. Ring your veterinary surgery first and ask for advice.
If your pet needs to be seen, your veterinarian will be able to work with you to ensure your pet will receive the care they need, while keeping themselves and their staff safe from COVID-19 infection. If your vet provides house calls, please let them know you are under quarantine before they arrive.
If you have any other concerns about your pet, please ask your veterinarian.
Note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and advice provided here is reflective of the evidence at hand. For up to date information on the COVID-19 situation in Australia go to health.gov.au