LETTERS: COVID-19 restrictions should allow pet owners to stay with animals at veterinary clinics

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Editor: People mistakenly believe (and accept without questioning) that the restrictions on veterinary visits are required by the CDC. In a communication from that agency, I learned that the onerous restriction of not being able to go into a veterinary clinic is actually voluntary, and only one of several choices veterinarians have to comply with CDC guidelines. For those unfamiliar with the restriction in question, veterinarians in Colorado seem to have adopted the rule that prohibits human companions from entering a veterinary clinic with their animal. The human must hand over the animal to someone in the parking lot who may be a stranger. The animal is then taken inside and the owner is not allowed to have personal interaction with the vet.

A friend took his cat to Alameda East and complied with this restriction. His bill was $600.00, and he never got to talk with a doctor, nor was he given an itemized statement of charges or description of the services provided. His only interaction was with a young person outside whom he did not know or recognize. That person could not answer any questions. I’ll bet there are countless tales similar to this.

Domestic animals have nothing to do with the spread of the virus in this country and veterinary clinics were never singled out as “hot spots,” but yet they seem to have borne the brunt of restrictions. I can go to Kaiser, enter the building, sit in a waiting room, and visit with my doctor. In fact, I once went to the orthopedics clinic and the waiting room was packed. I got the last chair in the room. No problem. We all can go into any store so long as we wear a mask. Why the restrictions on vet visits? It makes no sense.

When I take one of my animals to the vet, I do not want to hand him over to a stranger in a parking lot. Doesn’t that sound almost barbaric to you? Further, I want to remain with my animals as they wait and are treated, in order to help keep them calm. Can you just imagine the fear the poor creatures have when being handled by a bunch of strangers? In my case, since 2 of my cats were adopted from a shelter, I imagine that they think they are being surrendered back to the shelter. I do not ever want them to feel that this is the case. Let me ask those of you with small children: Would you hand your child over to a stranger in a parking lot? Would you not accompany your child into the clinic and the exam room? Would you not want to talk to the doctor? Or would you just leave them on their own? We all know the answers to these questions. Apparently what veterinarians aren’t taking into consideration is the fact that our animal companions are our babies, our “children,” if you will, and we would like them treated accordingly. Additionally, I consider it essential that I interact personally with the doctor concerning my animals’ health issue, whatever that may be. The vet probably has important information for me, and most certainly will have questions, the answers to which can help him or her make a diagnosis.

I know several folks who have avoided taking their animals to the doctor because they do not wish to comply with these burdensome restrictions. I suspect that many animals are not getting the medical care they need because of this. If an animal is due for vaccinations and doesn’t get them because of the situation as it exists, isn’t that actually defeating the purpose of health regulations? I have one young cat that needs his adult shots, but have put off getting them in hopes these restrictions would be eliminated or at least relaxed. Apparently, the veterinary community is not concerned about these things, as it declines to open up in a common-sense manner.

As infection rates wane and with increasing numbers of vaccinations, I am asking the veterinary community to consider this request to do the right thing in order to provide families and animals with the care and services that veterinarians are supposed to be providing. Here is one common-sense solution: Allow only-one person with an animal in the waiting room at a time (with mask), and have others wait in their cars until the doctor is ready for them. Please relax the unnecessary restrictions so our companions can get the care they need once again!

— Joe Felice, via [email protected]

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Andrea Lukuch
Andrea Lukuch
1 day ago

Unfortunately veterinarians and their teams were NOT made a priority for the COVID 19 vaccination, unlike their human medical counterparts. So as we waited, and are waiting for our turn to receive the vaccinations, we are still taking ALL necessary precautions to keep our most valuable asset, our teams, healthy and safe. Should our small clinics and hospitals become infected with COVID 19, unfortunately, we will need to close for the recommended amount of time. Then we have pets who are without much needed care for those 10- 14 days. We miss our clients and can’t wait to be reunited with them again but in the meantime we will do our best work for your beloved pets, treating them as if they are our own, and return them safely to you. If you don’t trust your veterinarian or their team then maybe its time you found another one. The pandemic has brought out the worst in people – impatience, bullying, entitlement and disregard for the health and safety of others and the veterinary front lines are standing up to this behavior.