As life changes under the novel coronavirus pandemic veterinary clinics have begun changing how they operate.
The dozens of veterinary clinics in the Halifax Regional Municipality and across the province are now implementing safety measures aimed at keeping their services running in order to treat animals in need of care.
“We are only seeing essential appointments at this time,” said Nicole Lambert, a registered veterinary technician with the Halifax Veterinary Hospital.
“So, sick patients, we are still doing some surgeries but we’re trying not to do spays and neuters, only things that are really necessary.”
The Halifax Veterinary Hospital is one of many clinics that now have a ‘closed-door policy.’
Animals are being triaged over the phone and staff are meeting owners at their vehicle where a clinic leash is used to bring them inside and be assessed.
The Basinview Animal Hospital is calling owners on FaceTime while they conduct the appointment so that they can still interact during the process.
“It’s scary for people to wave goodbye to their pet and have us take them but people have been very compliant as far as doing the FaceTime thing, doing the phone thing and we’re hoping that people will continue to be okay with that,” Dr. Aimee Patterson said, one of the veterinarians at Basinview.
The Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association (NSVMA) recently sent a formal letter to the provincial government requesting veterinary medicine be classified as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The goal is to prevent veterinary care from being suspended during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Recently, in Prince Edward and in Ontario, veterinary medicine was classified as an essential service. So, we are hoping that same status will be granted to veterinary medicine in the province of Nova Scotia,” said Frank Richardson, the registrar with NSVMA.
The province did not respond to a request for comment from about the NSVMA proposal.
As for safety precautions owners have been inquiring about with the COVID-19 outbreak, Richardson says most precautions revolve around people who are confirmed to have the virus or suspect they might.
“If a human is positive for the disease and virus particles end up on the dog’s fur, or the cat’s fur, then that animal could act as a fomite to spread the disease to other people. Not because the animal had the disease but because the virus particles were on the hair of the pet,” said Richardson.
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