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 so please remember to bring your mobile phone with you (if available). 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.
- There is currently no evidence you can get COVID-19 from your pet.
- Keep your pets with you in your family unit.
- Plan for the care of your pets in case you need to go to hospital.
- Continue to practice good hand hygiene before and after handling your pet, their food and their food and water bowls.
- Review advice from your veterinary clinic before you visit. Follow their instructions to keep your family and veterinary staff safe from COVID-19.
Can COVID-19 infect pets?
Worldwide, there are only a few reports of cats and dogs testing positive to COVID-19. These incidents have only occurred in animals which have been in close contact with an infected owner. There are no reported cases in domestic animals or wildlife in Australia.
There is currently no evidence that pet animals have been involved in the spread of COVID-19 to humans. The main risk of COVID-19 spread is from human-to-human transmission.
During the current lockdown keep your pets with your family. You can exercise with your dog, but we suggest avoiding close interactions with other people and their animals. Keep your dog on a (non-extendable) leash.
Can animals give COVID-19 to another animal?
Two research studies have been done where small numbers of animals were infected. Very high doses of the virus causing COVID-19 was sprayed into their nose. These studies have been done to see which animals can be used in vaccine research.
Cats and Ferrets did get infected in these studies. Cats did not become sick but were able to pass the virus on to one another. Ferrets did develop some respiratory illness. Some of the dogs became infected but did not pass the virus onto other dogs.
These studies do not show us what happens in a real-life situation. The only pet animals that have been infected during the current COVID-19 pandemic have been in close contact with owners with COVID-19. Human health agencies worldwide continue to say there is no evidence that animals are involved in spreading COVID-19 to people.
If you have COVID-19 or are in self-isolation due to contact with the virus, minimise contact with your pets as described below.
Can my pet carry the virus on its coat?
Your pet would only get the virus that causes COVID-19 on its coat if it is exposed to someone with the disease. If someone has patted your dog and you are concerned, a bath in dog shampoo will remove the virus if it is present. Always wash your hands after handling your pet.
Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
The same recommendations given to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst the human population, such as social distancing and good hygiene measures, should be implemented with your pets and other animals.
If you have COVID-19 or are in self-isolation we recommend you:
- Avoid close contact with your pet - e.g. cuddling, kissing, sleeping on beds.
- If possible, get another family member in the house to care for your pet.
- Wash your hands before and after being around, or handling, animals, their food, and their food and water bowls.
Have a plan in place for the care of your pet in case you become very unwell or are hospitalised:
- Have an emergency kit (e.g. leads, medicines, food) for your pets
- Decide if they can stay in your home or on your property with a friend, neighbour or pet sitter caring for them or if they need to go into boarding. Ensure you have the contact numbers for these arrangements written down.
- Tell a neighbour or friend what your plan is so they can put it in place if you are unable to.
What if I am in quarantine or self-isolation and my pet is unwell?
- If you are in quarantine, do not break quarantine by physically taking your pet to the veterinarian, even if your pet is sick. 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. Please ensure that you advise the veterinary clinic of your quarantine status over the telephone prior to your appointment.
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