After a few days at the beach, last week, I came back to discover what was basically a changed world! I’m not sure about anyone else but I’ve never seen anything like this current situation with the Coronavirus pandemic. New information is pouring in hourly, never mind daily or weekly, and it’s hard to keep track of all the latest updates.
Living and working in South Australia, we’re lucky (so far) to have seen very few cases of Coronavirus. Many others around the world are not so lucky. Of course there’s already been a massive effect on everyone, both economically and socially. Some businesses are struggling to stay afloat and many people (several sad faces anongst our staff group) have had to cancel long-anticipated holidays.
Amid all the gloom and doom, however, there’s some great news. Whether you’re coming home from a stressful day or whether you’ve been forced into self-quarantine, your pets are still there to greet you and to keep you company!! Actually, since last week, my son-in-law is having to work from home while his office is temporarily shut down and the dogs think it’s wonderful having company all day!
Whilst we’re all worrying about Coronavirus and how to contain its spread, dogs and cats are quite oblivious to these global dramas. At the same time, though, pets still need both routine and emergency care, just as they always do. On that note, the other piece of good news I can give you is that Gawler Animal Hospital is conducting business as usual. For the foreseeable future at least, we’ll still be here to look after all your pet healthcare needs!
During our staff meeting today, we covered many aspects of our approach to dealing with the situation. To put your minds at ease, there are several Coronavirus-related issues we should address, as follows:
- Current evidence strongly suggests that dogs and cats cannot infect humans with Coronavirus
- I’m happy to report that, from all the information we have to date, the current COVID-19 virus does not affect dogs or cats.
- I’m sure you may have read that there was a report of a dog in Hong Kong testing positive for COVID-19. This dog was later shown to not be infectious and there are no other reports that we’ve seen that would indicate any possible spread from human to pet or vice versa.
- If you have friends or colleagues who have been tested positive for Coronavirus, it would be a good idea to avoid their pets as well as to avoid direct contact with the owners. Although pets are not infectious, the virus can exist on their coats for a short while and so patting a dog or cat in this circumstance presents a minor risk.
- Yes, dogs and cats have their own versions of Coronavirus but they don’t affect us
- While there is a strain of Corona virus in both dogs and cats, these are entirely different strains and cannot infect humans.
- There is no situation in which owners should consider euthanising their pets due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
- While we haven’t been faced with this request, we’ve heard of practices around the country that have
- There is no justification for taking this extreme step so please don’t ask us to do this!!
Many businesses are closing down or restricting their activities. From our point of view, we’re providing essential services and so we have no plans to change what we do, unless forced to by the government and health authorities. Spread of disease amongst the pet population is something we’re constantly aware of and so we’re actually in a relatively good position to deal with Coronavirus. To help you understand how this works, we’d like to point out a few additional things.
- We’re taking lots of precautions to help reduce the risks
- For example, we’ve provided hand sanitisers throughout the hospital (for both staff and clients) and our staff are very vigilant about minimising contact with clients (think Jacinta Ardern’s ‘East Coast Wave’ in NZ!).
- We regularly spray all contact surfaces throughout the building with anti-viral agents to ensure there’s no cross-contamination through counters, phones, eftpos machines and even vials of medication that we hand out.
- We’ve broken up our staff meetings into smaller groups to reduce the chance of infection.
- Please tell us if you’re not well yourself
- If you’ve been feeling unwell yourself (or in extreme circumstances you’ve tested positive for the virus), we’d request that you let us know in advance.
- We’re not planning to turn away your pets, we’d just like to take some extra precautions. For example, we may ask you to wait in the car until we’re ready to see your pet. This way you’re not putting other clients in the waiting room at undue risk.
- There’s no need for panic buying (luckily pets don’t need toilet paper so we’re safe there!)
- Our hours haven’t changed (actually we’ve just extended our weekday opening hours to 7.30 each evening but that’s another story) and so we’re here for all your needs.
- We’re not hearing of any shortages of medication or pet food and so you don’t need to worry about stocking up.
- If you feel you’d like a longer prescription, we’re happy to provide that as long as this doesn’t extend beyond the six-month revisit rule that the Vet Surgeons Board impose on us (for good reasons, I’d have to add).
At the moment, everything is evolving rapidly. The bottom line, though, is that we’ll continue to provide you with the highest level of care for your pet friends and support you in any way we can. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give us a call on 8522 3500.