Wednesday, March 25, 2020

No-contact vet visits, telemedicine and veterinary ventilators sourced for human patients

coronavirus, pandemic, onehealth, ventilator
Companion animal owners should ensure that their pet's tick prevention is up to date. Image(c) Anne Fawcett 2020

As the pandemic situation develops, it appears that veterinary hospitals around the world are considered essential services and remain open to provide animal care. That said, some may have reduced hours and the majority (those at which I work included) now instituting non-contact or low-contact veterinary visits.

These are where the veterinary team has no or minimal contact with the human (client) – we still have contact with the patient. But what it may mean is that the client leaves the animal, waits outside the premises while the animal is examined, and then is telephoned for the history.

No doubt there will be some teething issues, but these measures are designed to ensure that animals can be continue to be treated while minimising risks to clients and veterinary teams and complying with social distancing (or more accurately, physical distancing) recommendations.

We are likely to see a rise in the practice of telemedicine or remote consulting. In the USA, the FDA has announced that it regulations may be relaxed to facilitate telemedicine. You can read more here.

Veterinarians are also being asked to make ventilators available for human patients. At this stage, an inventory is being conducted – the ventilators remain on site in veterinary hospitals but at least those who may need them know how many they can call upon, and where they are.

What does this mean for animals? It means that now, more than ever, owners need to ensure that their pets are on up to date tick prevention, and that they have enough prescription medication to manage conditions like chronic airway diseases. It means that owners of brachycephalic dogs need to be extremely careful that these dogs aren’t overexerted or overheated. You can read more about the measures here.