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

The Campbell River Sportsplex in Willow Point is the voting station for the Feb. 27 municipal byelection. Voting runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
Voting underway in Campbell River’s municipal byelection

You can cast your ballot today at the Sportsplex until 8 p.m.

With the full build-out of its 477 Hilchey Road development almost complete, Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North is setting its sights on its next batch of housing: right next door. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Habitat for Humanity looks to start a third Hilchey Road project

With the current site on Hilchey Road in the final stage of… Continue reading

Ian Baikie shows the new kitchen space at Hama?Elas shortly before the facility opened late last year. Mirror File Photo.
Campbell River City Council updated on Hama?Elas and Kwesa Place

Funding was set to run out at end of March, but organizers say they can go another six months

Tyson Popove placed second in his category at the Mt. Washington Viewtour Virtual Slopestyle event. Photo by Shawn Corrigan
Campbell River skier goes big at Mt. Washington competition

Tyson Popove places second in virtual slopestyle event

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read