Pet owners have appreciated the efforts of veterinarians during the pandemic. Curbside care for pets, however, is not something that pet owners are fond of and many have asked when they will be allowed inside of vet offices with their pets.
The desire of pet owners to enter vet offices with their pets is the subject of an article by ABC 13 News. CDC guidelines do not yet allow this privilege given the risks of Covid-19. Protocols are in place to protect the client and to protect vets. Nobody is allowed inside the building. Clients must park and call for attention, and the vet comes out to get the animal. The client is then called for the pet’s history, then an exam is undertaken, the owners are called back to let them know what was found and what the treatment plan is, and again to get payment information. There is every effort taken to create distance between the humans in the equation. No one comes in if they’re sick. Everyone wears masks inside the building. Vets are trying to take care of themselves and their clients, so they do not do things that would increase their chance of contracting and spreading the virus. They do not take chances. Needless to say, even with stringent protocols, staff suffer from anxiety and fear of contracting Covid-19.
In many ways, business is more difficult, and in some ways it’s easier. Some clients do not want to be separated from their pets, and that makes it hard on everyone. But the chaos inside the vet office is far less.
Though many vets did not survive the first lean months of the pandemic, with business dropping 50 percent in the first six to eight weeks, many have found a way to survive and are even busier than they were prior to the pandemic. According to the New York Times, demand for vet services is typically cyclical: clients spend more during periods of economic growth and pull back expenditure during downturns, but in this economic crisis, spending on pet care alongside the number of clients has soared. With more people staying at home, pet owners have more time to look after the needs of their pets, taking them to vets for delinquent medical care or because their pet has some discomfort. Business has risen 25% in California, as an example of the knock-on effects of the pandemic. This economic improvement is fragile however: if a vet tests positive for Covid-19, he has to stay away from the office until he tests negative, which on average means 14 days out of business. Consequently, the protocols separating pet owners from vets have a double importance, in protecting health as well as businesses.
Restrictions have loosened recently, leaving it to individual vet offices to decide if they will allow clients inside with their pets. Vets have tended to maintain protocols so you should check with you local veterinarian to see if they will allow you to enter their offices, Remember that these protocols protect everyone as well as the businesses that give incomes to these vets, so do not assume that you will be allowed in until things have improved in terms of a vaccine.