Spring is often the busiest time of year for veterinary clinics, as they hurry to provide pets with flea and tick preventatives, lymes disease tests and heartworm medication.
Although the lobbies are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Cameron Basina, manager at Country View Veterinary Service, said clinics are finding ways to get pets the services they need.
“We need those pets to get their vaccines,” Basina said.
As the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to change practices worldwide, veterinary clinics in Oregon adapted to comply with social distancing guidelines and Safer at Home orders. That has included wearing masks in the office, canceling all nonessential services and instituting curbside and virtual appointments.
At Village Animal Clinic on West Netherwood Road, clients wait in their cars while the pet and clinic staff complete the appointment inside. Then, after the pet is done with the procedure or appointment, the veterinarian will call the client and walk through what happened and ask any follow up questions.
Country View Veterinary Service has a similar service but also offers the option for a virtual visit through Facetime. No pet owners had used that service as of Monday, May 5.
At both clinics, clients appreciate still being able to give their pets services.
Michael Boyle, veterinarian at the Village Animal Clinic, told the Observer extra sanitary precautions are taken by everyone involved.
“(The client) wants to be safe, as well. They don’t want contact with us, either,” Boyle said with a laugh.
Boyle said staff have had to be patient while waiting for necessary supplies like surgical masks and cleaning products. He said although his supply shipments are slowly getting back to normal, some supplies that he had regularly purchased for years had dried up.
“We got two boxes of masks,” Boyle said. “We were pretty excited about that.”
Basina said staff and clients have struggled with the online pharmacies for animal medication. She said when the “Safer At Home” orders started in mid March, pet owners started panic purchasing medications for their pets – sometimes four months at a time.
“It was like the stores with no toilet paper,” Basina said, referring to online pharmacies like chewy.com. “There was much volume they couldn’t keep up.”
Her other concern was sanitization for surgery equipment but the clinic realized there were devices to clean and sanitize in-house.
Basina and Boyle said the staff has adapted quickly, and in some ways being around pets and animals is therapeutic.
“We still get to hold (the pets), and see their face,” Basina said. “We are able to be in extremely close contact, so it is therapeutic for the pet and the staff.”