Coping with Coronavirus (COVID-19):
Resources to Help Your Clinic and Your Community

Latest News:

Webinar on Spay/Neuter in the COVID-19 Era, Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Hosted by Million Cat Challenge and Maddie's Fund
Presented by Dr. Julie Levy and Aimee St. Arnaud
Spay/neuter is intricately woven into the fabric of animal lifesaving. And then suddenly, COVID-19 challenged every aspect of daily life and shelter operations, rewriting the book of what essential services are. We're told to be #SaferAtHome to avoid overloading the human healthcare system and that every exception to social distancing decreases its efficacy. What does that mean for spay/neuter programs? Webinar takes place Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 12 noon Pacific / 3pm Eastern (1 hour). Register HERE.

ADDRESSING THE IMPACT ON YOUR VETERINARY CLINIC/PRACTICE: 

As with other medical professionals, veterinary clinics are now in the position of figuring out how to take appropriate precautions in their clinics to adequately protect their staff, their clients and their patients from COVID-19. Some clinics are modifying their protocols to limit interaction between staff and clients while others are moving to telemedicine. Prioritizing the needs of patient care is an important focus as well. Here are some resources to help:

  • TRACKING STATE ORDERS REGARDING VETERINARY PROVIDERS AS ESSENTIAL SERVICES: HSVMA is tracking state emergency and shelter in place orders and whether they are specifically designating veterinary service providers as essential services. Our partners at the Humane Society of the United States are also tracking whether animal shelter and animal control services are also being included as essential services. You can view the online tracking document, which is updated daily, HERE

  • AVMA: The American Veterinary Medical Association is also posting timely information and important resources for veterinary clinics which addresses the disease risks, caring for pets and how to minimize risks in veterinary clinics. View the AVMA information webpage on COVID-19. 
  • STATE VMAS: HSVMA encourages veterinary professionals to touch base with their state veterinary medical association for guidance on what state laws and regulations are applicable in this situation as well as information updates from state public health and emergency management officials. Many state VMAs are providing FAQs, brochures, webinars and other resources to help members assess how to best handle the situation in their practice. A listing of COVID-19 resources available from many of the state VMAs is available via the Veterinary Medical Association Executives website. 

  • WEBINARLeadership from the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA), the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), Shelter Medicine, and MightyVet hosted a webinar on Wednesday, March 25th, addressing COVID-19 and pets impacted by the crisis. Topics covered included understanding how COVID-19 is transmitted and how to handle a pet exposed to someone with COVID-19. You can view the webinar on Facebook HERE.

  • New FDA Guidance on Telemedicine (Posted March 24, 2020) FDA has issued new guidance, for immediate implementation, that temporarily suspends the enforcement of certain aspects of the federal veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) requirements. Those federal requirements apply to extralabel drug use, and the issuing of veterinary feed directives (VFD). The guidance acknowledges individual state VCPR requirements that may continue to exist, acknowledges current federal VCPR requirements related to in-person examinations or premises visits, and indicates suspension of requirements outlined in guidance are temporary measures during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here is a link to the AVMA's resource page on practicing telemedicine.

  • HSVMA Joins with HSUS, HSLF To Urge Governors to Declare Animal Services, Including Veterinary Services, as Essential

     
RESOURCES FOR SHELTER MEDICINE, SHELTERS AND RESCUE GROUPS:

Many HSVMA members work or volunteer with a shelter or rescue group or have clients who do so. The sheltering community is preparing for the possibility of more animals being surrendered due to issues related to the Coronavirus, including family members becoming too sick to care for their pets or experiencing serious financial hardship due to the outbreak. Here are some resources available to help prepare for this influx of animals.

DAILY DIGEST

  • The national animal welfare groups have come together to produce a Daily Digest of information, updates and resources to help the animal sheltering, rescue and veterinary communities during this critical time. You can subscribe here: https://mailchi.mp/animalwelfaredigest/subscribe

SHELTER KIT:

GUIDANCE FROM SHELTER MEDICINE EXPERTS:

ASSESSING THE RISK:

  • WSAVA: While COVID-19 is contagious for humans and, as of now, is understood to spread primarily from person to person, the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) —an association representing more than 200,000 veterinarians— states that there is no evidence at this point that companion animals can transmit the virus. The association does, however, caution that this is a rapidly evolving situation and updates will be provided as they are received. People confirmed to have COVID-19 should avoid contact with other people as well as pets. Read the WSAVA Advisory Document on the New Coronavirus Virus 

  • CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has similar guidance, recommending that people practice good hygiene as always after handling animals and that sick people restrict contact with pets.  Read the CDC webpage on Animals and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

RESOURCES FOR PET OWNERS: 

This is an uncertain and stressful time for all, including pet owners. The most important thing that veterinary professionals can do is to assure pet owners that it is safe to interact with their companion animals as long as they (the humans) are healthy. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the disease to humans or other companion animals. 

Additionally, it is important to stress that pet owners should be prepared to take care of their pets in an emergency situation, similar to any disaster response. Having emergency supplies on hand for your pets is always a good idea, including ensuring that they have proper identification and any necessary prescriptions. Finally, for those pet owners who are having difficulty caring for their companion animals in this difficult time, it is always helpful to have lists of available resources, including foster networks and pet food banks, available to share.

Access the HSUS FAQ on how pets are being impacted by this crisis for ideas and resources to help pet owners.

Read the AVMA FAQ with information on how to care for pets, including precautions to take when handling companion animals.

HSVMA UPDATE:

Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any suggestions regarding other helpful information to share. Also please note that the HSVMA staff is now working remotely. However, any phone messages left on our office line at (530) 759-8106 will be responded to in a timely manner.

We hope all of our HSVMA members, their staff, clients and family members stay safe and healthy during this critical time.