March 23, 2020
Greetings from Hoffman Animal Hospital!
First, I’d like to clarify some veterinary/COVID-19 information, then I’ll update you on changes in our operations.
There is NO evidence that our pets are at risk. One dog (a 17 year-old Pomeranian in Hong Kong) repeatedly tested positive, but never developed any symptoms. Idexx, a major veterinary diagnostic laboratory here in the US reports that despite testing thousands of dogs and cats NONE have come back positive.
Here is a link to a CDC site on pets that includes information on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/index.html.
The CDC has a lot of information on COVID-19, and I strongly recommend that everyone check it out.
So far, the recommendation is that if you are in quarantine due to COVID-19 infection, you should not have physical contact with your pets. Here is the relevant quote from the CDC site:
You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.
Secondly, veterinary hospitals and pharmacies are considered essential businesses, so take worrying about medications and care for ill pets off your stressor list. We’ve even received a notice from the Maryland Department of Health asking us to stay open if possible.
Now for information specific to Hoffman Animal Hospital:
- We continue to exclusively offer “curbside service”. No one enters the building other than our employees. This also includes delivery people. We will make one exception: For euthanasias we’ll allow one family member to accompany your pet.
- Doctor update: Prior to joining us, Dr. Keatts worked in Asia studying Corona viruses and their spread from bats to humans. She accepted an offer to return to her prior employer to help during this pandemic (telecommuting from home). She will return to us! There are changes in each individual doctor’s schedule, and during the week we will be open and seeing appointments 9-5. We also doubled the number of our procedure days so that we can limit them to no more than one surgery per day.
- So far, no changes have been made to our Saturday schedule.
- I am exploring Telemedicine as an option for some visits.
- We have temporarily discontinued boarding and daycare services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Please call the office prior to coming in to pick up any medications or products. We want to make sure that we have things ready for you and can update you on any possible changes in hours and procedures. We will accept payment over the phone and then place your medications in the alcove at our front door. They will be on an elevated surface.
- We request that all payments be credit card transactions taken over the phone. Cash can be used if you don’t have access to credit cards. FYI the current information indicates that cash is unlikely to act as a fomite (inanimate object that can act to carry infection).
- Last week I thought this would be a several weeks or month-long situation. I now suspect we are looking at a significantly longer time frame. Fingers crossed that I’m wrong! Because of this, we will resume beginning Leptospirosis, Lyme, Feline Leukemia, and Canine Influenza vaccinations IF they are indicated.
Wow, I (Dr. Hoffman) read a lot of science fiction, and never dreamed I’d live through one of my novels…interesting and challenging times. Things change so quickly, and I’ll do my best to send you regular updates.
Please stay safe and know that we are doing our absolute best to continue to provide excellent care for you and your pets while keeping all of us healthy.
Lisa Hoffman, DVM