March 15, 2020
To our clients, colleagues and friends,
Amid the daily news updates about coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to share what we are doing at Animal Vision Center of Virginia to help keep the virus from spreading. We have solutions in place to make it safer and easier for you—and our practice team—to provide the best ophthalmic care for your pet. We want exactly what you want, to make certain that every person and every pet is safe while you are here.
Our practice remains open for appointments—with alternative ways to be seen, as you will read. And we will continue to respond and act accordingly based on the present and future CDC recommendations.
As of today, here’s what we want you to know:
- We are fully stocked with medications and supplies
In following early market analysis reports, we took additional precautions to ensure that we remain fully stocked to handle supply chain disruptions and/or shortages of ophthalmic medications for your pets.
- Risk of COVID-19 infection in pets
Science magazine writer David Grimm recently covered this topic in an interview with Shelley Rankin, a microbiologist at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine. She states there is no research to support human-to-animal spread of COVID-19 at this time. However, she advised that people infected with the virus should limit contact with their pet. “Wash your hands often, and don’t let them lick you on the face. If the virus is in your secretions and there’s any potential of transmission, these are ways it could be transmitted,” she said. You can view the article at this link.
- New drive-up telehealth appointments
On arrival, we will give anyone who is interested the opportunity to remain in your vehicle while your pet is being seen in the clinic. Simply call our front desk staff at 757-749-4838 and an AVCVA team member will come to your car to bring your pet inside. We will obtain a complete history on your pet’s progress over the phone, and you can be “present” for the entire exam via live video or voice telemedicine phone conferencing. As another option, we can call you after the appointment with this information.
- Telemedicine appointments
Don’t forget that we offer remote telemedicine consultations for our existing clients and those we consult on through our veterinary partners. This has been a routine part of our practice in one form or another since our inception. Using the TeleVet mobile app, you can participate in a two-way consultation appointment in real time with Dr. Heather Brookshire and her staff without ever leaving your home. Please contact us at 757-749-4838 for more information and instructions to participate in a full telemedicine appointment.
- Clinic sanitation
As always, we remain diligent about the utmost cleanliness of the practice, sanitizing all exam equipment and surfaces with disinfectant between appointments. We have a medical grade HEPA filtration system in our office to remove airborne particles such as viruses and bacteria from the air. While our existing protocol has proven to be effective against viruses, including coronaviruses, we have enhanced our sanitation procedures and frequency beyond the exam and patient rooms during this time for the safety of all who visit our practice.
- Exposure prevention
As a clinic, we have limited non-mandatory domestic travel of our team members. Any mandatory domestic travel is to be followed by a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Along this line, we ask you to please let us know if you or a member of your household has traveled within 14 days of your appointment. This will help us to further assure the safety of our staff and care for your pet.
- For our senior clients
The CDC has recommended older individuals, as well as those with underlying heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, to take additional precautions. We recognize that a significant percentage of our clients may be impacted by these measures. We want to do everything possible to help you maintain your own health while working to maintain that of your pet’s health. Please inform us of any concerns before you arrive with your pet, so that we can accommodate you safely.
- Signs of illness
If you have any signs of illness (fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, etc.), please alert us prior to your appointment so that we can determine the best means to provide care for your pet. Because our team members are the heart of our practice, we have allowed them additional paid sick days to stay home if they are not feeling well. They know this is in the best interest of our clients. We hope you will do the same if you are under the weather. Just give us a call 24 hours before your appointment, and we’ll be happy to reschedule it.
These are unusual times to be sure. However, there are simple things we can do all of the time to help prevent the spread of disease. Everyday practices, like handwashing and covering our sneezes, have become the most basic duty we owe to friends and strangers alike. These basic considerations, and the additional precautions we are taking, are our collective effort to help care for one another in this time of uncertainty. Our practice will be clean, safe and welcoming when you arrive, and that’s a promise.
All the best,
Heather Brookshire, DVM, DACVO