Pet welfare during Covid-19

Pet welfare during Covid-19

JOBURG – The South African Veterinary Association shares tips on on pet health during the lockdown.

Pet welfare during Covid-19

Here are some guidelines to follow when thinking of taking your pets to the vet l Photo: Pixabay

Veterinarians, being the custodians of animal health and welfare in South Africa, have been designated as essential service providers.

The South African Veterinary Association has provided guidelines for veterinarians, assisting them in determining which services have been deemed necessary.

If animal owners are concerned about the health of their animals, it is important to first call the veterinary clinic to discuss the concern and if deemed necessary by the consulting veterinarian to take the animal to the clinic, maintaining social distancing at all times. Both animal and owner welfare (i.e. human-animal bond) play an important part in these uncertain times, particularly as companion animals may be a critical support mechanism to many people.

Using the guidelines below, veterinarians will guide their clients on when and how they will consult.

Wellness visits

Postpone

Food sales

Continue but maintain social distancing if purchasing directly from your preferred veterinary clinic or make use of online delivery service. Should you need to visit your veterinary clinic, disinfect packaging with a sanitiser when you have arrived back at home, and wash your hands for 20 seconds thereafter.

Medication refills

Continue but maintain social distancing if purchasing directly from your preferred veterinary clinic or make use of online delivery service. Should you need to visit your veterinary clinic, disinfect packaging with a sanitiser when you have arrived back at home, and wash your hands for 20 seconds thereafter.

Rabies vaccination

Routine vaccinations (including previously unvaccinated animals) can be reasonably postponed if the owner can manage the animal in such a way to minimise the risk of exposure until your animal can be vaccinated.

Other vaccinations

If deemed necessary, have your veterinary clinic administer boosters of vaccine series based on your animal’s condition and circumstances (e.g. risk of exposure), alternatively postpone other vaccinations if the risk of exposure can be managed in the interim.

Flea/tick preventives

Maintain social distancing if collecting from your veterinary clinic or arrange with your clinic if they offer the option for drop-off or delivery. If you are a new client/patient at your veterinary clinic, establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship via telehealth (distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies).

Life-threatening conditions

If your animal suffers from a life-threatening condition and you are both from a low-risk household, manage using social distancing when visiting your veterinary clinic. With cases from high-risk households, consult your veterinary clinic to discuss alternative options.

Management of painful conditions

Could be managed by telemedicine (this allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote locations using telecommunications technology, it also allows patients in remote locations to access medical expertise quickly, and without travel) when possible. If an examination is required and your animal is from a low-risk household, your veterinary clinic should admit your animal for examination, but always maintain social distancing.

Management of chronic conditions

Could be managed by telemedicine when possible. Schedule an appointment if an urgent examination is needed but always maintain social distancing.

Surgical procedures for painful disorders

If your animal can be temporarily maintained on analgesics (medicines that are used to relieve pain) with a low risk of negative consequences, delay the surgery. If the surgery cannot be delayed, do proceed if the household is low-risk. If the household is high-risk, consult your veterinary clinic to discuss alternative options. If possible, isolate your animal from any high-risk individuals for two to three days to minimise the risk of possible contamination.

Sterilisations

Elective sterilisation for animals from a high-risk household should be discontinued until further notice. Animals from low-risk households could be sterilised, but always maintain social distancing.

 

——————————————————————————————

Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.