B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Ally the dachshund has chronic pancreatitis thatrequires daily care.

It’s special veterinarian-assisted care that her owner is worried might not be available when she needs it most due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

“She’s on strict food and that’s the only thing she’s allowed. She’s allowed no treats, no human food, no nothing…and insulin twice a day,” said Marisa Panter. “She can’t have a different kind of food, the food is bought from a vet office. She can’t have a different kind of insulin, and the insulin is bought from a vet office.”

Panter and 7-year-old Ally live outside of Kelowna, along with her three-year-old daughter, 13-year-old step-son, her husband, her in-laws, and six pregnant dachshunds that Panter is breeding.

Ally loves all dogs and humans she meets. She’s visited hospitals and retirement homes, bringing joy to residents and patients, and is inseparable from Panter’s daughter.

“She’s probably done 500,000 km in a vehicle, if we go anywhere and we’re not going to be home for insulin, we have to take her with us,” she said

Like most veterinarian clinics, Panter’s vet clinic has closed its doors to all non-essential visits and has resorted to parking lot pickups for food and medication.

She shares a common concern with many pet owners during this time — will she be able to get the adequate care she needs when so many services are being cut back?

“If her pancreatitis acts up, she needs to be in a (clinic) for three days on IV,” she said. “If there’s no vets, I watch her die.”

Dr. Chris Armstrong, a veterinarian and member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s (CVMA) Council, said the one of the main things pet owners should keep in mind is that vet clinics have been declared essential in many provinces and there’s no sign of them shutting down in British Columbia.

READ MORE: B.C. vet stresses need for pet hygiene despite COVID-19 risk being low

READ MORE: More information needed after dog’s weak positive COVID-19 test result: expert

“It may not be business as usual, but I think certainly pet owners and animal owners should not be afraid that their animals won’t be taken care of,” she said. “Particularly in emergency or urgent situations.”

Virtual care options are also starting to become available — GoFetch Health recently launched a Canada-wide service that can help pet owners connect with vets to ask questions and get advice on if their animal needs further care.

The CVMA put out a statement on March 24 advising vets on best practices for telemedicine. However, Armstrong said there is a big worry in her industry: running out of medical supplies.

“Veterinarians, like human medicine, we’re running out of masks, we’re running out of surgical gloves, we’re running out of personal protection equipment,” she said.

Armstrong said that puts limits on things like non-essential surgeries, like a neutering or spaying.

“I think that’s really one of the biggest limiting factors is: can we access sufficient masks and gloves and gowns to be able to continue service?”

When it comes to another common worry, running out of medicine, Armstrong said that hasn’t been a problem so far. She urges pet owners to resist hoarding because that would start to affect supply.

“For most of the medications, I think certainly the supply chain is still there,” she said. “Hoarding at least for pet owners goes just as true for medications and products.”

Armstrong said people have also been worried about their pets contracting COVID, which she said is very unlikely. There’s also been no proof that humans can contract COVID from their pets.

“There has only been two COVID positive dogs, there’s been a tremendous number of dogs been tested through IDEX, which is one of our labs,” she said. “And out of all the testing, it’s only the two Hong Kong dogs.”

However, Armstrong said it’s worth remembering that pets can carry COVID, much like any other surface.

“Dogs, like your pen or a table, could act as what we call a fomite,” she said. “So, in other words, a COVID positive person kissed their dog on the head, just like if they kissed their pen, could they put the virus on those two objects? And the answer is, yes.”

New information comes forward all the time, said Armstrong, and the best thing pet owners can do is stay up to date from reliable sources.

“I think that the message to go across is that, if we are patient, if we kind of know that this is a fluid situation, take direction from responsible and reliable sources,” she said.

“Stay calm and be nice.”

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

AnimalsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria fire crews quickly extinguished a multi-unit apartment building fire near Beacon Hill Park on Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Chief Paul Bruce)
Victoria fire crews extinguish multi-unit fire near Beacon Hill Park

Two people have suffered non-life-threatening injuries

Cat owners are being warned to keep their pets indoors after a threatening note was found posted in a North Saanich neighbourhood. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
ROAM warns Peninsula cat owners after threatening note posted in neighbourhood

Note writer doesn’t want cats pooping in their yard, threatens to trap them

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

A sentencing hearing began for Joel Conway who was convicted of break and enter and sexual assault last year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Sentencing begins for Saanich man convicted of sexual assault, break and enter

Crown is asking Joel Conway be sentenced to four years for both charges, to be served concurrent

A Sri Lankan cooking class from Ruwan Samarakoon-Amunugama, who authored the cookbook titled Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves: Hill Country, kicked off Food DIversity Week on Monday. (Photo by sailor first class Mike Goluboff)
CFB Esquimalt connecting workforce through diverse foods

Food Diversity Week runs until Friday

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

Most Read