Covid-19 response

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Thoughts on "Interim Guidance" Notice

  • 1.  Thoughts on "Interim Guidance" Notice

    Posted 13 days ago

    First and foremost, thank you for all your diligence and your concise communication during the COVID outbreak.  I am so grateful I joined the society and you have provided much help in my decision making.

    Just for a little background, I am Chief of Staff at a corporately owned small animal hospital (3 doctors and 12 staff) in Putnam County.  Literally minutes away from Westchester and 1 hour away from Manhattan, the current hot bed for cases.  We are fortunate enough to be located within 1/2 hour drive of 4 different emergency hospitals that we could refer people to if needed (although posts from Animal Specialty Center stated they are turning some cases away due to volume and triage needs).   Last week, we implemented curbside medicine for urgent visits only and I have moved to all appointments must be approved by a Dr after we had an "emergency dry flaking skin" come in. 

    I feel I am not doing enough to protect my staff, myself, and our families as we do not have full proper PPE.  We have some surgical masks (not N95), gloves, but not enough gowns for everyone especially to change between every pet we touch. I would love to close by practice and give what I have to the hospitals, but I am not going to give anything away because we do not have enough for ourselves. My corporation will not permit closure at this time.

    I have to admit, I found the Interim guidance document disappointing with the caveat that I understand that this is written for the entire state where the sense of urgency and restriction is not as great (probably should be though). I found the verbiage and to just include "spay/neuter and treatment of infectious diseases" very vague and not helpful in my decision making.   I am working in a day to day/week to week frame of mind, I do not think these next few weeks are a time to spay animals.  If a spay is considered essential right now, then you could justify and think out a scenario in which every thing should be seen (I need to do that nail trim, because if I don't the dog could slip and strain its ankle and on and on).  I think it needs to be more restrictive.    I think we also have a responsibility to limit peoples ability be out and about as well.  I understand that these services will need to be added overtime (i.e. in 3 to 4 weeks).  Admittedly, I don't really have a solution on how to provide more guidance.  Would it be helpful for me to reach out to the state veterinarian directly and share my concerns?

    I also found the employee guidelines to be very minimal and rudimentary.  With all due to respect, we are way beyond  "throw away a dirty tissue."   We need to be changing gowns and gloves between contact with every patient as I (personal opinion) have no doubt that an animals fur or a cat carrier can serve as a fomite (picture, asymptomatic COVID shedding human coughs in the car as they pull in my driveway, vent fan is on high, blows cough particles all over dogs face and fur, dog sniff air pulling droplets into their nose, my staff walks out retrieves dog 10 min later, I bend over (even in full PPE) to look into dogs ear, dog nervously sneezes in my face spraying droplets all over my face.  I am quite sure the virus is present and infective).  There is no way to maintain 3 to 6 feet from my co-workers.  My treatment room barely has 6 feet of floor space and our patients require restraint. I think this should section should be revised to be much more restrictive.

    Again, thank you for all have been doing.  Your thoughts and opinion are much appreciated. 

    Angela O'Donnell, DVM
    Putnam County, NY

  • 2.  RE: Thoughts on "Interim Guidance" Notice

    Posted 12 days ago
    Just as a sample of an alternate viewpoint, I am very grateful for the flexibility of the Interim document. We have two emergency clinics serving the entire Capital District area, which already often run at capacity and would be quickly overwhelmed if we all closed our doors. My team and I are there in our hospital ready to perform the vital role we play protecting the health of our clients and patients. Certainly any one of my team who is not comfortable doing so would never be retaliated against for staying home during this crisis. I completely trust my colleagues to make the best possible decisions for their clients, employees and pets as well. 

    I do wish we were better prepared in terms of PPE for staff. This may be something we do in the future, similar to human hospitals.


    Virginia Jarvis
    Albany County Veterinary Hospital
    Albany NY