ALLEGHENY COUNTY (KDKA) — Local veterinary hospitals and clinics are making widespread changes to reduce foot traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic.
One major change includes curbside service, where a staff member will pick the animal up from the owner’s car and drop the animal off when the appointment is over.
The majority of conversations between the pet’s owner and the veterinarian are over the phone.
“We have actually not had a client enter our doors all week,” said Eric Sigg, general manager of Wexford Veterinary Hospital.
Staff will also bring medicine and food directly to the car.
Gregory Erdely was waiting in his car for his dog at Animal General of Cranberry on Wednesday.
“They’ve called once already and they’re x-raying my dog,” he said. “Then they’ll call me back with the results.”
The North Boros Veterinary Hospital in Ross Township is allowing one person to come in with their pet, but they have completely eliminated the waiting room.
“When we’re ready for them, we give them a call,” said Associate Veterinarian Dr. Melanie Boretsky.
They are still prepared to do curbside appointments, by need or request.
One person brought their dog to North Boros Veterinary Hospital on Wednesday while awaiting the results of a coronavirus test.
Staff dressed in personal protective equipment when they took the dog form the car.
“We can do this completely no-contact,” said Dr. Brotesky.
Veterinarians say these protocols hinder the number of patients they see each day.
Dr. Justin Stewart, the associate veterinarian at Animal General of Cranberry, says it has changed the way he interacts with pet owners.
“You want to describe what’s going on with their pet in a little more of a physical way and point to certain things,” he said. “Owners aren’t able to show you what’s wrong with their pet right in front of you, but we’re doing our best.”
Some veterinary hospitals and clinics are reducing non-urgent care.
The American Veterinary Medical Association is also asking hospitals to limit the use of medical equipment like gloves and masks as shortages continue in other medical facilities.
Current evidence does not indicate pets can pass coronavirus to people.