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Animal Clinics and Covid

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    Animal Clinics and Covid

    How is your vet managing appointments during this lockdown? My cat and I had a wasted, stressful experience at a new vet clinic today.
    Does your do car drop-off only? What is their staff's way of doing it?

    This new vet's receptionist gave me an idea of about half of what to expect that didn't begin to cover the total crap experience as it turned out. I have never had such a traumatic experience at an animal hospital. My poor cat was crying her heart out and she is usually quiet as a [mouse] in her carrier in the car.

    She has been hobbling for a couple of days now and I want someone to check her out. I tried a tele-appointment with our old vet but they're too far from where we live now and felt that it would be better to have a vet see and feel her leg. She's off in her off fore.
    Rack on!

    #2
    My small animal clinic still allows animals with their owner to come into the exam room. However, those waiting to be seen need to wait outside. Masks are to be worn inside and that is a county mandate. I am very thankful that they're not drop-off or phone only; telemedicine doesn't work too well for me.

    Sorry you both had such a miserable experience.

    Comment


      #3
      Mine did drop-off only at first (back in March/April), but quickly decided it didn't work. Owners are allowed into the waiting room and exam rooms with their pets, which we all appreciate. If it was just vaccination/worming, I wouldn't mind that - I often drop off one of the cats on my way to work during the school year, if it's nothing too major, or if I know the cat needs to be seen ASAP and I can't get the time off work - but I prefer to be there if I can.

      Is there another vet in the area that you can see, and actually go in? Or in another county? I live right on the border and have a back-up vet in another state, so I guess I'm kind of lucky there.

      Comment


        #4
        Mine has been doing curbside "pick-up" where a tech comes out to your car and gets the pet.

        They've recently started allowing the client and pet(s) to come into a treatment room (with mask) to meet with the tech. Pet is taken into the back for treatments.

        I've been going to the same place for a few years now. Got an appointment in a few weeks with the vet I usually 'see' for their annual vaccinations. I was gonna wait outside so the tech didn't have to wrangle 2 eager Border Terriers out of the crate that is accessible via the side door in my van (not the back). They are now allowing us to wait inside in a treatment room but pet is still taken to the back.

        I appreciate the practice wanting to keep as much of their staff as safe as possible.
        Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; John Gilliespie Magee, Jr

        Comment


          #5
          Mine does curbside for minor issues such as vaccinations. For a serious issue, the owner is allowed to come in (with mask/gloves). I was able to accompany my two cancer cats for their regular rechecks so we could discuss how they were doing and the way forward. I was also allowed in when it was time to euthanize.

          I don't blame them one bit, though, for being cautious. To have the virus go through the clinic would force them to shut down completely.

          Comment


            #6
            It's horrible. Took my reactive dog to the curbside wait appointment. Clinic is in an old house and their lawn maintenance company was weedwhacking AND by the way the clinic also had a construction crew going in and out the door doing remodeling. Dog barked the entire time, major headache. Love this vet but that truly sucked.

            Comment

              Original Poster

              #7
              I want to stay with my cat so the vet can show me and tell me whatever I need to know. Especially a new vet -- and I would expect a vet to feel the same about a new patient.

              One online friend told me that at his vet clinic a tech comes out to your car with a carrier, transfers your cat from your carrier to theirs, then take your cat inside. Which is worse? Putting cats in carriers that held other cats? Or disinfecting the carrier and then putting the cat in with the residue of the disinfectant?
              providing the transfer succeeds and the cat doesn't get loose and run away?!!?
              Rack on!

              Comment


                #8
                Sorry you are unhappy or feel like you had crappy service. But curbside service isn't going away. It is what clinics have to do to keep themselves safe and in business during this pandemic. So you want to be in the exam room to chat with the staff? Too bad. Sorry, but that isn't important. You can talk to them when they come to your car. That are doing the "exam room" portion of the visit there for now. It really does't change anything.

                Good bedside practices transcend, though. The staff should still gather the same history from you (from inside your vehicle) and should not be rushed. That's harder now that it is 150 degrees outside, but that will pass, and anyway even in these odd times, doing odd things, and uncomfortable due to heat...good care can still happen. Yeah it's weird to have to call the stupid clinic from their parking lot when you arrive, etc, and also if you forgot to tell them something or whatever. That would be so much easier in person in normal circumstances. But it is what it is and no matter what ... you ain't coming in my hospital. Unless it is an euthanasia and then we have special protocol for those cases. But that's it. And if you think that is going to change if you get ugly or upset enough, then feel free to call my bluff. You can take your pet elsewhere.

                Comment


                  #9
                  The techs at my animal hospital were wearing masks and gloves. When I arrived for our appointment one came running out from a table in front of the building and got my info, then filled out a form for each dog and slid it under a wiper blade. It was ID in large print for the dogs and said our time of arrival.

                  The techs came back out and got my dogs one at a time, while I waited in my vehicle. The tech even brought me a bottle of water when I asked if they had any. One dog was simply going in for a blood draw. The other has summer itchies and the vet called my cell phone, asked me a few additional questions, talked about the exam and explained what she thought would help. The techs brought back out my dogs, the medicine and a bill. It's not ideal but it worked. If they could call me on Zoom while they were going over my dog that would be great, but I just want my vet to stay in business. There are a lot of extra costs for them to be working this way.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by freshman View Post
                    Yeah it's weird to have to call the stupid clinic from their parking lot when you arrive, etc, and also if you forgot to tell them something or whatever. That would be so much easier in person in normal circumstances. But it is what it is and no matter what ... you ain't coming in my hospital.
                    One thing I do is write up an easy to read paper beforehand and give it to the tech when they pick up my cat. I write out any concerns I have, anything unusual I've noticed, the cat's current eating/bathroom habits, and anything in particular I would like them to check. I also list anything I would like them to do: blood draw, nail clip, whatever I feel needs to be done, and any preference in meds (pills/liquid, etc.) That way they can work down the list and have most of their questions answered. Helps speed the process a bit and nothing is forgotten.

                    I try to make it as easy as possible. The vets and techs are working under difficult conditions right now and frankly, I think they're doing a pretty darn good job.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The only vet visit that I've had to do during the pandemic was getting flea/tick/HW meds back in April. At the time they were doing curbside, but wanted a current weight. I called on arrival. They had me wait at my car, I handed the leash over to the tech, they took my dog inside and weighed her, and brought her right back out. I called back in and paid over the phone, then the tech came out with our meds.

                      I thought I was going to have to take one of my hens in for sour crop, but I was able to resolve it myself. The vet said that if I couldn't get it to empty that I could take her to them and they would make an incision to empty it and see if there was an impaction. It would have been a quick procedure so I would have just waited in my car. At that time (end of May), they had converted the waiting room to an exam room so that owners could wait outside and comfort or watch from the window.

                      My sister had to take her lab in for a stubborn hot spot. Curbside protocols at her vet as well. Owners stay at their vehicle. Tech comes and gets your dog and returns them when finished.

                      I believe that my vet just last week has started allowing owners to come in if required. Because of space limitations they really have to stagger appts, so "curbside" is still an option.

                      Euthanasias and emergencies may be handled a bit differently.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Gainer View Post

                        One thing I do is write up an easy to read paper beforehand and give it to the tech when they pick up my cat. I write out any concerns I have, anything unusual I've noticed, the cat's current eating/bathroom habits, and anything in particular I would like them to check. I also list anything I would like them to do: blood draw, nail clip, whatever I feel needs to be done, and any preference in meds (pills/liquid, etc.) That way they can work down the list and have most of their questions answered. Helps speed the process a bit and nothing is forgotten.

                        I try to make it as easy as possible. The vets and techs are working under difficult conditions right now and frankly, I think they're doing a pretty darn good job.
                        Wrote a list for years with my elderly dog with many health issues; his veterinarian told me that he wished all his clients did so.

                        The mixed practice I've been using told me (when I called to find out their current protocol) that clients are instructed to call from their car when they arrive, wait in their car until called, everyone inside (staff and clients) must be masked (this was even before our governor issued a mask order), and payment could be done with a credit card over a phone.

                        We've only taken the horses to the clinics, for vaccinations, since these rules were put in place, so never went inside at all - just called when we arrived, waited outside with our animals, veterinarian and tech came out to us, then I paid via phone when done.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post
                          Mine has been doing curbside "pick-up" where a tech comes out to your car and gets the pet.

                          They've recently started allowing the client and pet(s) to come into a treatment room (with mask) to meet with the tech. Pet is taken into the back for treatments.
                          This is exactly what mine has done and is doing, and it's working very well. But it's a small clinic and they've never taken appointments—it's all walk-in, first-come, first-served, which is why I like it. You just call when you get in the parking lot, and a tech will come out to the car when it's your turn.
                          "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." —Bradley Trevor Greive

                          Comment


                            #14
                            None of the vet clinics in my area (large or small) are allowing clients inside. It's all curbside appointments. Clients must wait in their vehicles. Someone comes to the vehicle to receive the animal then history, payment, etc is all done over the phone.

                            A lot of people don't like it but I understand that vet offices have been open all through the pandemic and are trying their best to keep everyone safe.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I think my regular vet is still doing curbside. I tried out a different vet with my new puppy two weeks ago. They had just changed to letting one person go in if it was an appointment with the vet (and not just techs). You had to call from the parking lot, then they'd come get you. They were only allowing one in at a time. They also had a first exam free deal, and my regular vet is getting close to retiring, so I thought it would be an ideal time to check them out, while also being able to accompany my shy puppy. Well, I didn't like this vet for other reasons, and just a week after I went, they sent out an email saying they were going back to curbside only. My puppy needs another set of shots in two weeks, so I'll probably take her to my regular vet. My other dog last needed to go in February, when things were going normally.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by Another Poster View Post
                                None of the vet clinics in my area (large or small) are allowing clients inside. It's all curbside appointments. Clients must wait in their vehicles. Someone comes to the vehicle to receive the animal then history, payment, etc is all done over the phone.
                                What's what my vet was doing (curbside 'pickup') until we started hitting our desert 105+ temps and they amended their protocol to allow clients to wait in an exam room inside with a/c
                                Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; John Gilliespie Magee, Jr

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I just made an appointment with my dog vet. They aren't letting people other than staff go in the building. I'm going to try it but I requested they bring a muzzle and someone very strong out with them as it is not going to go well. After this appointment I will definitely be switching vets. My horse vet and my cat vet are perfectly (and reasonably) allowing one person in with the animal. I also just debating canceling and doing his vaccines myself this go round. His rabies (which owners can't do in MD) is still good for another 2 years. If the kids running checkout in the grocery store can handle serving people all day everyday, I would think a vet with much more controlled numbers would be able to do the same. I'd put on a )#&$)#& tyvek suit and hood to be able to go in with my pet. And before everyone gets all high and mighty about my opinion, yes I did spend several years working in a couple vet practices. I think this practice is going to get a lot of vets and their staff hurt and going to make the gen public even less likely to bring their animals in
                                  Last edited by tabula rashah; Jul. 22, 2020, 02:47 PM.
                                  No mourners, no funerals

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    My young dogs were due for a booster just after our state locked down. My vets office called and asked if I wanted to pick up the vaccines and give them myself, which I was fine with. I think they are doing the drop off/wait in car thing now. My dogs all know them, and I have no issue with handing them off to the techs if one of them needed to be seen. I have two other vets that I have used for different things, that I would have no problem dropping a dog off with, even if the dog had never met them.

                                    On the other hand, I would be hesitant to use a new vet, whom I had never met before. One of the young dogs is showing some fear of strangers atm, (Covid is not helping that at all), and I would want to know that the vet/techs are good about reading body language, so she has a good experience. My dogs are worked with regularly, and expected to behave at the vet. If I am with them, they feel safe, so have no issues letting the vet do whatever to them, and they are usually not anxious about it. If the do become anxious, I have ways to calm them, so they end up having a positive experience.

                                    I once had a dog who loved everyone, and was great for all her vet work, including a 6 day stay at Tufts for an emergency. All the vets/techs that dealt with her throughout her life loved her. I took her to a new vet and she needed a blood draw. They took her in the back, then told me it took 6 people to hold her down. That was the only time in her life anyone had trouble drawing her blood. I do not want that type of experience for the dogs I have now.

                                    Comment

                                      Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
                                      I just made an appointment with my dog vet. They aren't letting people other than staff go in the building. I'm going to try it but I requested they bring a muzzle and someone very strong person out with them as it is not going to go well. After this appointment I will definitely be switching vets. My horse vet and my cat vet are perfectly (and reasonably) allowing one person in with the animal. I also just debating canceling and doing his vaccines myself this go round. His rabies (which owners can't do in MD) is still good for another 2 years. If the kids running checkout in the grocery store can handle serving people all day everyday, I would think a vet with much more controlled numbers would be able to do the same. I'd put on a )#&$)#& tyvek suit and hood to be able to go in with my pet. And before everyone gets all high and mighty about my opinion, yes I did spend several years working in a couple vet practices. I think this practice is going to get a lot of vets and their staff hurt and going to make the gen public even less likely to bring their animals in
                                      This. Good post, and good practice.
                                      After all, when owners are allowed to go into the building to go to the rest room, they should be allowed in to wait in an individual exam room. Much less of them touches the surfaces in the exam room than in the rest room.
                                      Grocery and other stores with community rest rooms allow customers in there, and there's a limit to the social distancing that can be done in a rest room.
                                      If there were some logical consistency to the current protocols they would make more sense. But as they are being followed now, they make no sense and neither does the mindless acceptance by the clients.
                                      Rack on!

                                      Comment

                                        Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        w.
                                        I don't want to hand over my terrified cat to a bunch of strangers who will take her behind closed door locking me out. They took my cats behind closed door into the lab for blood draws, etc., at our previous vet, but I had seen those vets and techs with us in the exam room and got an idea of how they handled my cats. And owners were not locked out of the lab. We were not allowed to go in, but there were no locks on the doors.

                                        I hate that my cat is hobbling a little. But I hate more that this vet did not care that she and I were afraid. Their response to my concerns was rudeness and a complete absence of sympathy or empathy.
                                        I bet pediatricians do not force parents to drop their kids off at the door and then lock the parents out.
                                        Rack on!

                                        Comment

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