Family Pet Veterinary Center cares for the health of your family even during COVID-19
At Family Pet Veterinary Centers (FPVC) and Animal Dentistry Referral Services (ADRS), it is our priority to try to keep people and pets healthy. As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread globally, FPVC is taking appropriate precautions to address the outbreak by following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Our current approach and response to COVID-19 is outlined below.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family, and it first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, runny nose, cough and breathing trouble. While most people experience mild symptoms, some may develop more severe symptoms, which can be fatal.
COVID-19 is believed to be spread only person to person, which means that infection can occur through close contact with infected individuals. Although it is believed that COVID-19 is most contagious when an infected individual is most symptomatic, an individual may still be contagious without exhibiting any symptoms.
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid it. FPVC team members are doing our part by practicing good hygiene at work and at home:
- Regularly washing hands for at least 20 seconds throughout the day with warm water and soap, specifically before eating. This is done more frequently than normal.
- Covering coughs and sneezes.
- Avoiding making close contact with others, such as shaking hands. Additionally everyone should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
- We are frequently cleaning and disinfecting commonly used surfaces (countertops, keyboards, doorknobs, faucets, and stethoscopes).
- You will be informed if you were in contact with a team member that becomes diagnosed with COVID-19
- To help you remain healthy, we encourage you to use hand sanitizer at the front desk of each office. We have limited amounts of sanitizing supplies and will continue to restock as we are able. For additional guidance on maintaining your health, see the CDC’s webpage on prevention and treatment.
Your Personal Health
If you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, you should self quarantine or seek medical attention as stated by the CDC (https://youtu.be/9cfYC4YLsu4) (cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov). Please refrain from entering our offices if:
- You have a fever, cough, or are sneezing or
- You have flu-like symptoms or
- You have exposure to people or locations with documented COVID-19 cases in the past three weeks.
- Request a TeleVet consult (see below) to talk to one of our veterinarians from home.
What does COVID-19 mean for my pet?
Your pet is not at risk for being infected with COVID-19. The CDC has reported no COVID-19 cases in pets in the USA. The Hong Kong weak positive dog case has no symptoms and the test cannot distinguish samples with intact viruses from fragments of the RNA. It is possible that dogs, like all objects, may be a location to find the virus. For example, “The World Health Organization is encouraging the use of digital payment options because the COVID-19 virus is thought to survive on hard surfaces like coins for days.” Other sources say, “Infectious disease experts in human and animal health organizatiaons agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals, including humans.”
Do not abandon your pets out of fear of contracting COVID-19 from them or infecting them with COVID-19. Practice basic hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water after handling or walking your pets. If you’d like to take extra precaution, you can wipe down your pets with disposable baby wipes after their walks. Contact us if you need further advice.
Should our offices be forced to temporarily close as an absolute worst case, we will always have someone able to come in to take care of boarding and/or hospitalized pets.
What should I do to prepare for my pet’s care?
We know that some of you may end up quarantined or stuck at home sick. We still want to help you the best we can. Some choices are as follows:
- Identify another person who is willing and able to transport your pet to our office. With notice, we will meet them at the door so the pet can enter the building. This will usually become a drop-off appointment. Even healthy owners should consider avoiding entering the building and utilizing the following medical video conference app for the pet’s exam.
- Download the app: TeleVet-Remote Pet Care from the Apple app store or Google Play. Request a consult ($45) and we will schedule a medical video conference, phone call, and/or chat with you. When the initial consult results in the need to listen, feel, or test your pet, an additional Medical Progress Exam ($45) is needed. This exam is less expensive than our typical Diagnostic Exam. Should you want to be present while self quarantined, a video conference of your pet’s visit can be arranged through the TeleVet app as well.
- Oral dentistry consultations are now available via TeleVet for the $45 fee. While this is less expensive than the typical $100 fee, no part of the TeleVet consultation is refundable at the time of the anesthetic dental procedure given the added technology costs to the practice.
- We can arrange to deliver needed food/medications to your door in most cases.
- To schedule an appointment to have your pet seen in the office you may call (515-224-9747 West Des Moines, 515-981-0317 Norwalk) or you can request a physical appointment through our website. Select the preferred location above, then use the dropdown menu to choose Request an Appointment.
- To send a note or question to the front desk, text us! (Use the TeleVet app for medical questions.) Norwalk: 515-808-5342 West Des Moines: 515-444-5372
NEW FORMAT FOR APPOINTMENTS NOW THROUGH APRIL 11TH
As part of our commitment to ‘flatten the curve’ we will be making a few changes to how our Practice will see patients through April 11th. We will be accepting sick patients via drop off and requiring non-sick pet visits in need of a deadline sensitive Rabies vaccine, or preventative boosters for puppies/kittens at risk to allow us to meet you at your vehicle. We would prefer to keep social distance by having owners remain in the car and communicating by phone or the TeleVet app (see box in the lower right corner). It is best not to schedule other types of visits such as wellness/nail trims/elective procedures until April 13th unless deemed medically necessary by one of our veterinarians.
When you arrive with your pet(s), please call us at 515-224-9747 (West) or 515-981-0317 (Norwalk) and a technician will meet you at your vehicle. We can call your phone, text you, or video conference through TeleVet to collect a history and offer a treatment plan.
If you need food or medication for your pets please contact our office to prepay for what you need and we will provide you with pick up instructions. There are many ways to reach us: phone, texting as listed above, or chatting/video consult with a doctor through the TeleVet app.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, we ask that you have someone that is well transport your pet(s) to our office and let us know the best person to communicate with regarding treatment planning decisions.
Given this is a rapidly developing situation, we will continue to monitor developments and update our course of action as new information becomes available through the CDC. We know it’s a stressful time, but please believe that your pets are safe and that you are safe around your pets. If you have any more questions, we’re here to help!
Drs. Jen Mathis, Ryan Southard, Liz Fara, Deidre Qual, Gretta Albrecht and the entire team of Family Pet Veterinary Centers and Animal Dentistry Referral Services