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VISITING THE VET IN COVID TIMES
Many of you are asking what has happened to the veterinary profession since the Covid-19 outbreak began. All of a sudden, you can wait 45 minutes on the phone. Emergency hospitals are at capacity and cannot see your pet or you can easily wait 6-8 hours to be seen. Appointments are booked weeks in advance. Many hospitals are still curbside, so you are not able to even enter the hospital.
WHY IS THIS?
There are many factors at work during Covid-19 times. Here are some of them:
- Everyone and their brother has adopted a pet during the outbreak (more pets in need of care)
- People working from home observe their pets more closely and find more issues to check (again, more pets in need of care).
- Many older veterinarians and veterinary staff members have chosen the Covid crisis as a good time to simply retire (less staff to care for the increase in pets).
- Covid absences and quarantines are still happening. Current law is that anyone Covid positive with symptoms must quarantine, vaccinated or not. Quarantines leave hospitals further under-staffed, temporarily closed, or even permanently closed.
- Many potential new employees are not comfortable returning to work at this point in the outbreak, making it extremely difficult to add more people to handle the additional patients.
- Reception must manage a spectacular number of people: in person, on the phone, by email and by text message. This creates a bottle neck: long hold times and sometimes long wait times.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE IT BETTER?
Our goal is always to provide excellent service to our patients and their humans so be assured, we're working on it.
1) We are no longer curbside.
Returning to normal face-to-face conversation has removed most of the doctor-pet owner phone traffic plus you no longer have to wait in the parking lot. We still have had a few people call from the car and get stuck on a long hold time. This is no longer necessary. Just walk right in and tell us you're here.
2) We've upgraded the phone to handle up to 100 phone calls at a time.
This means no one gets a busy signal no matter what. If your issue requires speaking to a live person directly, we are here for you, though you will have to wait your turn. (Long hold times are a function of the number of people requiring service at once. People present in the office receive priority.)
3) Our phone number (310-391-6741) is now textable.
If you need a medication refill, an appointment, or if you have a simple but non-urgent question, text us. All computers in the hospital have access to the texting system. Your message will be answered or you will get a call back.
4) We are scheduling all hospital traffic including medication and pet food pick-ups, patient drop-offs and pick ups, and any other business that will require a parking space.
In this way, we can manage the number of people arriving at a time so that we don't get overwhelmed. Plus, we can make sure everyone coming in can have a parking space.
5) The Drop-off Option
With face-to-face appointments booking up weeks in advance (and there's a waiting list), we have another choice: drop-off. There is typically room for an additional 3 or 4 patients beyond the normal appointment schedule if they are dropped off early in the day to be seen later. The doctor will examine your pet and call you, similar to the curbside situation only you don't have to wait around. If you don't mind this format for examination, we can usually get you in substantially sooner.
6) Don't forget email.
Our email address is MarVistaAMC@gmail.com. Requests, questions, etc. can always be received by email. Documents (such as vaccine certificates, lab work, radiographs etc.) can also be sent to you.
Someone in our profession recently said that "veterinary practice during Covid times is like approaching mile 28 of a 26 mile marathon. They keep moving the finish line." We are all working very hard to continue service at the same level as before Covid. It's been rough going for all of us since March of 2020 but we're hanging in there!
...that prescription and therapeutic diets are 100% guaranteed?
What does that mean? It means that if you want to return a partial case or bag of food, you get a full refund.
If you bought the food on line, all you need to do is report the return to the company where you bought the food and you get a full refund.
Why? Because you may need to go through several therapeutic diets to find an appropriate one that your pet likes, and the diet companies don't want you to have to pay for trial and error.
EXTERNAL LINK WE LIKE: RETHINKOA.COM
Adequan injectable has put together a very nice web site on arthritis in dogs.
Arthritis often requires a "multi-modal" approach which means treatment is more complicated than just taking a pill. Weight loss might be needed. Supplements can be helpful. Pain relief and anti-inflammation are central.
If you have a dog who just doesn't seem to have the same interest in exercise, consider taking the quiz at:
THE LEPTOSPIROSIS AND INFLUENZA OUTBREAKS CONTINUE.
Here is an update from the health department:
Canine influenza (CIV H3N2) outbreak.
On September 2, 2021, a veterinary clinic in South Pasadena notified our program that they were seeing an increase in dogs with symptoms compatible with canine influenza. The dogs had visited multiple dog daycare or boarding facilities in and around Pasadena. With the approval of the Pasadena Health Officer, we contacted veterinary clinics in Pasadena, requesting they report any potential cases. Other veterinary clinics also reported numerous cases this past week, helping us identify outbreaks involving at least seven additional dog day care or boarding facilities throughout the county, with some boarding/day care facilities reporting over 100 dogs becoming ill.
- Since July 31, 2021, 55 confirmed cases and over 115 suspected cases of influenza in dogs have been individually reported to our program. Ten facility outbreaks have also been reported. Most of the cases have been associated with staying in boarding kennels or dog day care settings. However, there are a few reports of dogs contracting the infection after exposure to other dogs at local parks, grooming facilities, veterinary clinics, and neighborhoods.
- CIV H3N2 is generally considered to be a non-zoonotic strain of influenza because no human cases have been reported during various outbreaks in the United States.
- CIV H3N2 is spread through direct contact between dogs, or through droplet spread and aerosolization when infected dogs are housed indoors together, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. It can also be spread between dogs on the hands, clothing, and shoes of caretakers.
- The recent increase in reported outbreaks and cases indicate the virus is spreading rapidly in the county, and all social dogs should be considered at risk of infection.
- This is the largest outbreak of CIV H3N2 reported in Los Angeles County. The largest outbreak before now occurred in 2017 and involved 35 dogs. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/InfluenzaCanineH3N2.htm
- Vaccinate dogs for both canine influenza H3N2 and leptospirosis before they enter boarding kennels, dog day care, dog parks, or engage in dog group activities. These vaccinations are also advisable for dogs that may occasionally encounter other dogs or wildlife.
- Isolation and Quarantine of affected dogs.
- Canine Influenza H3N2 – Since prolonged shedding of the virus has been documented, isolate affected dogs away from other pets, for 28 days. Quarantine exposed dogs for 14 days
- Leptospirosis – Isolate infected dogs at home, away from other pets and people, until they have recovered and finished treatment, usually for about 2 weeks. Quarantine is not required for exposed dogs, but they should be monitored for clinical signs for 1-2 week
Zoonotic Risk and Protecting People
- Canine H3N2 is not known to be zoonotic (meaning it doesn't infect people)
- Leptospirosis is zoonotic. The bacteria can infect people when their eyes, nose or mouth or breaks in their skin are exposed to the urine of an infected animal, or to water or splashes of water contaminated with the urine of an infected animal. People should wear gloves when handling infected dogs and wash hands afterward. When cleaning a heavily contaminated environment, wear a mask, goggles, coveralls, and gloves. No human cases related to this outbreak have been reported at this time.
As mentioned, so far no human cases of Leptospirosis have been reported in association with this outbreak. Exposed people do not need to be tested for Leptospirosis unless they have associated symptoms. Here is a link to the CDC information page on this infection:
If you need a vaccine appointment for your dog, please text us at 310-391-6741.
If you aren't sure if your dog has already been vaccinated or whether your dog needs a booster shot, please text us at 310-391-6741.
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