AVMA takes steps to ensure safety

Dr. Kratt. American Veterinary Medical Association

A survey done by the American Veterinary Medical Association notes that 84 percent of practices that responded reported a pandemic strategy of asking clients to wait in their vehicles during treatment of their pets.

Survey data was collected in April.

To address cash shortfalls, more than 60 percent of respondents indicated they had applied or intended to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration loan programs. Also, about 60 percent of practice owners indicated they would forgo their own salary, and 60 percent said they would pull from cash reserves of their businesses.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the struggle for veterinarians has been how to provide the essential services of veterinary medicine while protecting themselves, their staff and their clients from the novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Douglas Kratt, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

In addition to curbside service and urging the use of face coverings, the AVMA’s recommendations for safe client interactions include:

— Pre-visit triage to prioritize and determine which patients need to be seen at the clinic, to assist with scheduling (appointment with curbside waiting or drop-off and pickup), and to clarify the client’s status with regard to COVID-19 exposure.

— Not admitting clients with respiratory disease and/or confirmed or pending results for COVID-19 into veterinary clinics.

— Utilizing telemedicine, if medically appropriate.

— Using clinic leashes, rather than personal leashes, to transfer patients and instructing clients that pets being presented for care should not wear “outfits” (e.g., T-shirts, bandanas).

— Call-ahead, no-human-contact patient drop-off and return through a designated clinic entrance having restricted access to other clinic space. Careful attention to animal containment when doing so, including designated carriers that can be readily cleaned and disinfected between uses and secure hooks for leashes.

— Using telephone or video conference to gather information on history and clinical signs and to conduct follow-up consultations.

— Documenting verbal consent, rather than requiring signatures.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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