East Port Veterinary Hospital takes the health and safety of our staff, clients and patients very seriously. While we are closely monitoring the ever changing dynamic situation at hand, we may need to alter some of our systems and protocols to reduce any potential risks. It’s important that we protect both our staff and clients well being, and it is imperative that we take all necessary precautions to prevent the closure of our hospital, by minimizing all potential exposure to the coronavirus.
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking clients to observe the following protocols.
- If you have travelled internationally in the last 14 days, please advise hospital staff, and have a friend or family member attend your appointment in your place.
- If you are unwell, please advise hospital staff, and have a friend or family member attend your appointment in your place.
- If you have been tested for COVID-19 or if you have been in contact with someone who has, please don’t attend your appointments, or enter the hospital.
- Where practically possible, please limit the number of family members attending the hospital to one.
- Where practicable, please practice safe physical distancing within the reception area.
- Please use the hand sanitizer available at reception.
These protocols may change in future in alignment with government recommendations. We will keep you updated as the changes come into effect.
Please see below the current advice from the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA).
Advice from the Australian Veterinary Association to pet owners
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that infect birds and mammals, including humans. They are often associated with the common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia, and can also affect the gut. The virus that causes COVID-19 is also a coronavirus and likely originated from a wildlife reservoir.
Canine coronavirus, which can cause diarrhoea, and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), have been seen by veterinarians for many years. They do not cause infections in humans. These coronaviruses are not associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Can COVID-19 infect pets?
There have been reports from Hong Kong that a dog owned by a patient with COVID-19 has tested positive to the presence of the virus in its nose and mouth. This is may be a case of human to animal transmission, however the dog’s first blood tests have been negative. At this stage there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats are a source of infection to other animals or humans. We are continuing to monitor this situation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
As the outbreak continues, a number of pet owners will be placed in quarantine, either with confirmed COVID-19 infection or due to exposure. We know that your pet is part of your family and you will want them to have the same level of protection and care as any other family member. Current information suggests there is no apparent risk to you or your pet from being in quarantine with you.
However, we do advise all pet owners continue to practice appropriate hand hygiene before and after handling their pet, their food and washing food/water bowls. At no stage should pet owners do anything that may compromise the welfare of their pets. We suggest minimising close contact with your pet during this time, such as hugging, face to face contact or sleeping on your bed.
What do I do if I am in quarantine or self-isolation and my pet is unwell?
If you are in quarantine, do not break quarantine to take your pet to the veterinarian even if your pet is unwell. By doing this you will put your veterinarian and staff at risk of infection. Ring your veterinary surgery first and ask for advice.
If your pet needs to be seen, your veterinarian will be able to work with you to ensure your pet will receive the care they need, while keeping themselves and their staff safe from COVID-19 infection. If your vet provides house calls, please let them know you are under quarantine before they arrive.
If you have any other concerns about your pet, please ask your veterinarian.
Note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and advice provided here is reflective of the evidence at hand. For up to date information on the COVID-19 situation in Australia go to health.gov.au
We have also heightened our hygiene protocols in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, and have many processes in place to ensure these are being followed by all staff at all times. Door handles and surfaces are being wiped down multiple times throughout the day to minimize risks. Hand sanitizer is available at reception and we are implementing safe distancing where possible.
If you are unwell and are due to come into the hospital for a non-urgent appointment, we can postpone until you are feeling better. For urgent situations, we can still see your pet – we may just need to think outside the box for each individual case, and it may vary from how we usually do things.
If you would like to collect any medications, preventatives or nutritional supplies for your pets, please give us a call and we can have these ready for you when you come to the hospital.
For our senior clients, where possible, we would be happy to deliver patient medications to your home, to help minimise the exposure to those most at risk.
In these unprecedented times, we appreciate your understanding and thank you for your patience.