Given the human health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated recommendations advised by authorities, VetDERM Clinic has implemented the following changes in function to help maintain physical distancing and continuity of pet dermatology care.
1. Telemedicine availability:
- Telemedicine provides the ability to provide good veterinary care to a subset of the patient population with benefit of detailed medical history review, pictures of affected areas, and video-conferencing with the pet owner.
- Direct consultation using telemedicine with our pet dermatologist is now available, using video and audio-based real time case discussion and patient care decision making. These consultations are available for follow-up care and new patient consultations including:
- Current patients: in addition to continued phone and e-mail based client support for our current patients, we have made available telemedicine appointments that can be scheduled at available times. This option can effectively replace some follow-up examinations, as we are well versed with current patient history and concerns.
- New patients: screening for best available options is available until a patient affected by skin and/or ear problems can be evaluated in person. While some treatments may be prescribed, this consultation will help keep patients comfortable or prepare them for an in-person visit when possible. Detailed patient history review including availability of patient pictures or videos (of affected skin) as well as relevant pet owner feedback are essential to making this option a success.
- Veterinarians: If a client or pet is unable to visit our dermatology team due to social distancing, travel restrictions, or other factors, veterinarians can now request a direct audio or video consultation with our veterinary dermatologist in order to discuss the best management, treatment, and diagnostic options available for the pet. Detailed patient history review and discussion will continue towards relevant recommendations. Family veterinarians will retain primary patient care and responsibility. Pet owners may be included in the consultation, if desired by the veterinarian and pet owner.
- In-person pet dermatology evaluation may be deemed necessary and will be advised in individual cases, based on telemedicine evaluation of patients, due to the limitations of the degree of detail in assessments and diagnostic testing that can be achieved using this resource.
2. Continuity of care with altered scheduling and service:
- Appointment schedule adjustment to see fewer appointments per day, in order to help ensure disinfection of the premises between each appointment.
- Only pets enter the clinic for skin and ear examination as well as diagnostic testing, if needed. Patient care discussion over the phone while clients wait outside the clinic, in the comfort of their car. Testing and treatment approvals will be obtained with client consent, as usual.
- Pets with history of anxiety, fear, or aggression, where the patient absolutely needs a family member with them in the clinic, prior approval for 1 client entering premises along with pet may be provided.
- Prescription diets can be obtained through family veterinarians, as usual. Please contact your family veterinarian to check availability of diet as well as their suggested method of purchase and delivery.
- Refills on medications, allergy immunotherapy, and other treatments are available as usual.
- Pick ups can be pre-arranged with a time for pick up at the clinic door. Please wait at the door and call reception upon arrival at clinic.
- Shipping to client home address on file can be requested, as usual.
- Prescription can be sent to your family veterinarian, if the treatment is available from them.
3. Social distancing protocols to safeguard employees and clients:
- Regulatory updates and guidelines are being followed closely and are regularly discussed in staff meetings, in order to safeguard our veterinary team and our clients & their families.
- Increased sanitation & disinfection practices have been implemented, including cleaning of commonly touched surfaces after each client visit.
- Human hospital safety hand-washing protocols are in place after every client contact.
- Social distancing guidelines are being followed.
- Re-adjustment of the reception area has been performed including removal of waiting chairs to encourage short and/or isolated visits to VetDERM Clinic, if necessary.
- For document signatures and authorizations (if necessary), all clients are requested to bring their own pens in case documents need to be signed.
- No cash or cheque transactions are being accepted currently. However, all clients can pay with debit, credit card, or e-transfers.
- No walk-ins other than pre-scheduled appointments or pick-ups, with measures in place to minimize contact during such visits.
- Clients must inform our staff if they have been out of the country or exposed to a sick individual within the past 14 days.
Our team at VetDERM Clinic is prepared to help the quality of life of dermatology patients and their families by all means considered reasonable and available to us. Please stay healthy and calm during these uncertain times. We will all come out stronger on the other side.
VetDERM Clinic Team