Requiring emergency care for your pet can be distressing. In the midst of COVID-19, the worry increases as we all struggle to determine how to stay safe and healthy in our community. As new information on the virus becomes available, AECFV is choosing to take a strong stance on social distancing which will have a large impact on the way we will conduct business. We are doing it for you, for us, for our parents, our children and yours.
Our main priority is to keep you and our staff safe as we continue to provide our gold-standard 24-7 care. We also need to ensure we remain a consistent support for all general practice clinics in the Lower Mainland, especially those with decreased staff levels due to quarantine protocols.
At AECFV, we are strictly enforcing the quarantine and self-isolation recommendations advised by our government for any staff members who have traveled outside of Canada, and/or have known exposure to COVID-19 or are showing signs of illness.
We ask that you call our office prior to arrival. Our doors are locked for the safety of you and our staff. If you are showing any cold or flu like symptoms, have traveled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, or suspect you may have had contact with someone with COVID-19, you will NOT be allowed to enter our hospital. There will be no exceptions to this rule. We will receive your pet at our front door. All communication regarding patient history, treatment plans and discussions will be done over the phone or email. In calling our office prior to arrival, you can also speak to a staff member to determine if your pet is in true need of emergency care.
If quarantine precautions do not apply to you, we will permit ONE family member in our building for your pet’s consultation. We will not be permitting any patient visits during this time. Client’s will be asked to return to their car during diagnostics or treatment. If your pet requires to be euthanized, multiple family members may be permitted at the discretion of our staff.
We will be asking all our clients to please use the hand sanitizer provided when checking in. Our client washroom is conveniently accessed near the front door if you prefer to wash with soap and water. Clients will also be asked to spray down any surface they touch in our washroom for the safety of the next client to use that room.
Our staff is being more diligent than ever in ensuring all surfaces are disinfected regularly. we have provided cleansers in all client areas so you are able to spray and wipe surfaces in the event you would like further peace of mind that what you are touching is clean.
AECFV is an employer of almost 90 individuals, and we are committed to continuing to provide an essential service throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. We are also committed to the livelihoods of those 90 employees and the families they support. These are challenging times and we thank you for understanding the precautions we are taking.
- If you are sick, been exposed to the virus or travelled outside Canada recently-you will NOT be permitted into our hospital for any reason. All communication with you will be via phone or email.
- If none of the above apply, one family member will be allowed in the hospital with your pet. Communication with our Dr. may take place in an exam room, the waiting area or over the phone depending on the comfort level of our staff and yourself. You will be asked to return to your car during diagnostics and treatment.
- Due to the precautions we are taking, expect that our wait times could be greatly increased.
- No personal belongings (bedding, toys, leashes etc.) will be allowed to stay in our hospital.
- If you are picking up after-care items such as ashes or pawprints, please call us when you arrive and we will give them to you at the door.
Up-to-date information on COVID-19 can be found on the Government of Canada website https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
Here is a link to a simple to understand, comic style, explanation to COVID-19 https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus
Here are also some questions and answers provided to us by the BC Center for Disease Control.
1. Can domestic animals be infected with the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19 in humans?
Yes. However, there has only been a single case in a dog in Hong Kong that tested weakly positive for the virus. The dog did not show any signs of illness so it remains unclear if the virus is not pathogenic to dogs in general or whether this particular animal did not develop clinical signs. The animal was put under a 14-day quarantine and monitored closely for signs of illness by Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department.
2. Can domestic animals develop clinical illness with COVID-19?
There is currently no evidence that domestic animals, including dogs and cats, develop clinical illness with this new coronavirus. A pet dog in Hong Kong tested positive for the virus but did not show any signs of illness. This animal was from a household with a person infected with COVID-19.
3. What should animal owners do to if they are infected with COVID-19?
Individuals infected with COVID-19 should limit contact with their pets and all other animals during their illness. If an infected person must care for a pet, then they should wash their hands before and after interacting with their pet, its food and supplies; and the animal should not be exposed to other people.