What to Expect at the Vet During a Pandemic

It’s important to remember that during this time, you need to be patient. Our essential healthcare workers are doing the best they can to support us and our pets.

With many cities in a stay-at-home order, many non-essential businesses have had to close. One business that is, of course, still open is your local vet. Our pets need to be taken care of just like humans, but what happens when there is a global health emergency?

What can you expect at the vet during a pandemic? Your vet is there to help maintain the health of your pets, but can you expect there to be any changes in service?

Read below to learn more about what most vets suggest you do and steps they are taking to keep your pets and themselves safe during this pandemic.

Is My Vet Going to Be Open During a Pandemic?

Each veterinary office will, of course, have different ways of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, it would be impossible to say for sure that your specific vet will be open. Here’s what we can say for sure.

Most vets will likely stay open, though they may have altered hours. Vets are an essential service. However, they will probably only be accepting clients for necessary care. You will not be able to take your pet in for a nail trim or other grooming tasks. If your pet does get sick or injured, you should call your vet to make sure they are open and able to take your pet. Many vets have been amending their hours, so best to check before you drive there.

Your vet may also have altered service. Many vets have been implementing new policies for patients. This might include having you call once you arrive, and a nurse will come out to your car to get your pet. Your vet might also want you to wait in your vehicle while they treat your pet. If you absolutely must be in the exam room, they will likely request only one owner in the room at a time.

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection, so the fewer people who are interacting in close proximity, the better. Your pet will likely be treated and released back to you without you even having to enter the building. This use of social distancing will help keep everyone safer during this time.

So, the bottom line is to call your vet and ask what to expect before bringing your pet in.

Can My Pet Get COVID-19?

Currently, there is no scientific evidence saying your pet can contract COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says, “To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States. Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak.”

Of course, you need to have safe practices when it comes to dealing with your pet and health safety. Your vet knows this, and it is likely why they changed their procedures to ensure your safety and that of your pet during this trying time.

As a general rule, you should not take yourself or your dog into areas where there are many people. This will increase the chance of you getting sick. If you have a yard, play there. If you must walk your dog, stick to areas where there are the fewest people. And remember, if you have to go to the vet, call them first. They will likely not take walk-ins. You’ll need to make an appointment first.

What to Expect at the Vet During a Pandemic?

Your vet visit will begin at home. Call your vet FIRST before walking in. They will triage over the phone. This means they will tell the sickest animals to come into the office before those with lesser issues. It also might mean they can diagnose your dog or cat over the phone if your pet has chronic medical problems or needs a prescription refill.

Then, once you get to the vet, a vet’s assistant or receptionist may come out and take your pet inside, leaving you safe in the car. This is done to limit the people in the building and lower the chances of people getting infected.

Once your pet is examined, the vet may come out or call you to tell you their findings. After that, they will discuss the next steps. During this conversation, you can express any concerns you have. Lastly, your vet will arrange for any follow-up care, including prescription pick up.