A Veterinarian’s Perspective on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Like most people I am concerned about the health and well-being of my family (two and four legged) and my friends. As a Veterinarian I must be concerned for my clients and their pets.

News, social media and television programs are filled with stories and impressions of COVID-19. The danger degree can vary from low to high depending on the day and to which channel you choose to listen. Stories from Washington State doctors at the center of the outbreak, present COVID-19 as a very serious disease that can cause severe lung problems and incapacitating cardiomyopathy (heart inflammation) affecting some patients. Many people exhibit very minor cold symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, they pass the virus to others.

So how does that impact me as a Veterinarian? First, if we are to self-isolate until there are better, more accessible tests how should veterinarians treat patients? For example, the Governor of Ohio is recommending that all routine dental and veterinary surgery be postponed. It seems to me that anyone elderly or at risk because of immune-compromised, asthma or heart problems may want to wait in the car while one of our technicians brings their animal into the exam room. We can discuss the case by cell phone while they stay in their car. Payment will be completer from the vehicle.

Many people have read about the dog that tested positive for COVID-19 that belonged to a patient in Hong Kong. Since that test all other dogs have tested negative. We do not want people to be afraid of their pets. We also want our pets to be safe and not pass the virus to them. The AVMA, an association of veterinarians across the country, have recommended that you keep your pets in a separate room if you are sick. Treat them as a family member and do not expose them. In addition, I personally recommend that you keep the toilet lid down. DO NOT let your pet drink from the toilet. Many pets love to do just that, but it is another avenue of exposure. Plus, you never know when your dog is going into the next room to lick you on the face.
May we all help each other and stay healthy.

Eileen J. Lammie VMD
All Creatures Great and Small
Elkins, WV