Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join or Create a Guest Account
PVMA Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) is the only statewide professional membership association dedicated exclusively to the profession of veterinary medicine and the interests of the veterinary team. The focus of our association is professional development, advocacy, and practice vitality to ensure the continued success of our members.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: pets  veterinarian  animal  veterinary medicine  cats  animals  covid  covid19  dog  pet  veterinarians  veterinary  virus  corona  dogs  fda  members  recall  survey  testing  usda  avma  award  canine  corona virus  covid-19  disease  health  infection  laboratory 

Cat Owners: No Need to Panic About the Tiger That Tested Positive for COVID-19

Posted By Jaime Markle, Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Cats & Covid Header

Cat Owners: No Need to Panic About the Tiger That Tested Positive for COVID-19

You may have read in the news recently that a female tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19. Some of the other tigers and a few lions were showing mild signs of the infection as well. This news will most likely cause cat owners to become concerned, asking themselves if COVID-19 can infect their cats, and if their cats can transmit the infection to humans. Dr. Bryan Langlois, the Medical Director of the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and the Immediate Past-President of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, says that there still is no reason for cat owners to panic about this.

“There still is no science that says cats are able to spread the COVID-19 infection to humans,” explains Dr. Langlois. “There have been no case reports of this out there and the only form of transmission we are aware of in the U.S. right now is human to human transmission. Veterinarians and researchers have expected that some cats would become mildly infected as this pandemic continued, since the receptors for the virus in their respiratory tissues are similar to humans. However, with that being the case, there still is no evidence that says even if a cat does become mildly infected, they will spread the virus to a human. As such, we want to reiterate again that there is no reason for cat owners to consider having to surrender their cats or try and remove stray cats from their home areas out of fear they could infect humans.”

“The recommendations we have been saying from the start still remain the same,” says Langlois. “Practicing good common sense and hygiene around all animals is the best thing one can do, and if you happen to be infected with COVID-19 the best thing is to see if someone else can take care of your pets for you while you recover.”

More research is expected to be done on these big cat infections at the Bronx Zoo and we remind everyone that the best place to get the most accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19 and your pets is from your local veterinarian and the web sites listed below.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 pet owners are encouraged to visit PaVMA.org.

Watch our video:

About the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)
Founded in 1883, PVMA is PA’s only statewide professional membership organization for the veterinary profession representing over 3,400 veterinarians, certified veterinary technicians, assistants, practice managers, and other support staff. Our mission is to ensure the vitality of the profession by promoting excellence in veterinary medicine, advancing animal health and welfare, and protecting & enhancing human health. To learn more visit PaVMA.org.

###

Media Contact:

Jaime Markle
Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)
Director of Marketing & Communications
JMarkle@PaVMA.org
P: 717.220.1437

Tags:  cats  corona  coronavirus  covid  covid19  human  lab  laboratory  lion  pandemic  pvma  tiger  veterinary  vetmed  virus  Zoo 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Q&A Summary of PVMA Virtual Town Hall

Posted By Jaime Markle, Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 23, 2020

Q&A Summary of PVMA Virtual Town Hall

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, PVMA held a Virtual Town Hall to answer important questions that were submitted by your veterinary colleagues. Our panelists included Dr. Kevin Brightbill, Dr. Tina Dougherty, Dr. Kate Harnish, Dr. Bryan Langlois, Dr. Lloyd Reitz, and Dr. David Wolfgang. We have compiled those questions and answers below. If there have been any changes to the topic since the Town Hall, that question has been answered with the most up-to-date information we can provide.

If you have a question that was not answered in this blog post, please submit your question on our COVID-19 Resources page.

Submit Question

LIFE-SUSTAINING BUSINESSES, ESSSENTIAL VS. NON-ESSENTIAL PROCEDURES, ETC.

The Governor just announced that all “non-life sustaining business” should close. Veterinarians were not on the list released to the press. What is the status of veterinary medicine?
Kevin Brightbill, DVM, State Veterinarian, Director, PA Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, said that The Governor’s office has confirmed that veterinary services DO fall under Healthcare and are permitted to stay open.

Is there a difference between essential and non-essential services? In other words, should veterinary practices be open for all services, including well visits, or only emergency and urgent care? 
Food animal medicine and surgery are considered essential as well as non-elective care (i.e. emergency and/or critical care) and procedures for companion animals.

Elective Procedures are generally categorized as ones that can be postponed for a period of up to 2 weeks while not having a detrimental effect on the health of the animal during that time. Some procedures may be judgement call on the part of the veterinarian, as an animal may be in severe pain or in danger of losing its life without having what may be generally considered an “elective” procedure.

Spay/neuter surgeries that do not need to be performed to serve a lifesaving function (i.e pyometra), declaw procedures, lump or mass removals that are not urgent, basic dental prophylaxis procedures, and sedation for things like grooming or nail trims (unless medically needed) are not essential and should not be performed during this shutdown. Feral Cat TNR (trap, neuter, release) services will be considered elective as well during this period.

Multiple extractions would not be considered elective because it is medically needed to alleviate discomfort from the animal. Any dental procedure where major dental pathology is present would be deemed non-elective.

Veterinarians should use their best judgment. While the state is not going to be auditing every procedure you perform during the shutdown, we should be aware of the need to conserve PPE and keep our staff, clients, and ourselves as safe as possible.

 

What about vaccinations such as rabies? If a vaccination is expiring and a new vaccination is legally required, is it considered urgent to see that animal? 
The state is not waiving the legal requirements on vaccinations; however, there is little chance that the state will be checking expired vaccinations at this time. Dr. Brightbill advised delaying vaccinations if possible, with the exception being if there is an active case of rabies in the community or any other situation that may further compromise public health.

Are veterinarians entitled to move to their practices or run a field service should the government install a curfew? Do provisions exist to maintain at least a minimal veterinary care service in this and the surrounding states? 
We do not anticipate that the state will impose a curfew. Since non-elective veterinary services are considered life-sustaining, care will still be provided to the public. If a veterinarian does provide mobile care, all prescribed precautions for virus transmittal should be in place, as well as social distancing.

What are recommendations for house call vets. Especially small animal vets?
House calls should only take place for emergency or urgent care. You should ask the client if anyone in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is quarantined. House calls should not take place in these situations. Use proper protocols, such as the use of PPE and basic hygiene, such as proper handwashing. Direct human contact should be limited, and social distancing maintained.

AVMA has published guidelines for house calls and mobile vets here.

As the State has declared veterinary clinics "essential,” if my practices should close (illness with COVID-19,  to protect employees from the public exposure to COVID-19, etc.), will I be precluded from government support (small business low-interest loans, individual unemployment, etc.)? Could we face disciplinary actions?
Dr. Brightbill and PVMA will investigate any repercussions for veterinary practices shutting down during this period. We will communicate what we find through PaVMA.org. From the perspective of the state board, based on precedent, if a practice closes, they are responsible to clearly communicate alternative emergency care. Practices should coordinate with a local emergency hospital or another general practice that is open for emergency care. Contact information for the emergency care provider should be provided on your voice mail message and website.

Under what circumstances would it be deemed necessary to close general practices (and have only ER hospitals available?)
General practices that do not provide non-elective care should close, according to the Governor’s order. A general practice that provides emergency care can stay open for that purpose. All elective services should be canceled.

Are pet crematories “life-sustaining” businesses?
Yes. Proper burial or cremation of pets contributes to public health. Pet crematories should use proper procedures and hygiene when receiving and handling the deceased animal.

PRACTICING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

How can veterinary practices maintain governmental recommendations for social distancing and still see clients?
PVMA offers the following suggestions for social distancing while seeing clients in your practice:
  1. Ask the client to call the office on their cell phone when they arrive and have a technician go to the car to retrieve the animal. The client should remain in their car, or if they do stand outside, maintain 6-8 feet of distance between other people. They should be available by phone to discuss care during the exam. A technician can return the animal to the car upon completion of the exam.
  2. If clients do enter the practice, escort them to a private exam room immediately. Do not keep clients in a waiting room. Consider asking for the client’s cell phone number before they arrive and send a text when you are ready for them to enter.
  3. If a client has traveled outside the United States in March, came in direct contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, or has tested positive themselves, they should send their animal to your practice with a trusted agent and be available by phone during the exam.
  4. Prescriptions and pet food purchases should also be conducted through car-side delivery service or shipped directly to the client.
  5. It is suggested rather than checking clients out in the reception area after their appointment, provide their invoice to them in the exam room or at their vehicle. There they can provide their method of payment and they can stay in the exam room or vehicle while you go complete the payment. This eliminates the need to spend time in the reception area. If clients are in their vehicle during the appointments or have arrived to pick up food/prescriptions, the same concept can apply for the staff member to review the invoice with them there and take payment back inside to complete. Additionally, less contact can also be accomplished by taking payments over the phone from their vehicle.
The AVMA website states that veterinary staff should wear PPE when meeting clients at their car for curbside veterinary visits. What is the appropriate PPE for this interaction?
At a minimum, use gloves, and a mask. Limit physical contact with the client. Consider having the client pay by phone (credit card) rather than handling cash or a physical credit card.

In the event of a Covid-19 positive person in our hospital and subsequent shutdown, what exactly are the disinfection and quarantine protocols we should follow before considering re-opening for business?
You can find environmental cleaning recommendations here. Essentially, diluted bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most EPA-registered household disinfectants are effective. If possible, wait 24 hours to begin cleaning and disinfecting, but no matter what, cleaning staff should wear gloves and gowns.

What happens if an employee in your specialty emergency practice tests positive for the virus? Will the state shut the entire hospital down?
Veterinary hospitals are essential services, and it’s not in anyone’s interest to shut hospitals down. For now, if the Department of Health is notified of someone who tests positive, they contact the submitting healthcare provider, the local health department or the PA DOH Bureau of Community Health Systems (BCHS) then reaches out to the COVID-19 positive person and places them on a verbal isolation order. They work with the diagnosed person to identify and contact the people with whom they had close contact since becoming symptomatic and communicate to those contacts that they should self-monitor for symptoms. If those contacts get symptoms, they should call their local health department or BCHS.


BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE UPDATES

With many continuing ed conferences being canceled, will we be allowed to get more than 25% of our CE online? If not, what happens to vets that don't have their 30 hours of CE completed by November?
As of March 22, 2020, Governor Wolf granted the Department of State’s request to suspend restrictions on distance-learning for continuing-education requirements for certain licensed professionals. Many licensing boards of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs have ongoing continuing education requirements. Although only a few boards are currently in renewal, many “in-person” continuing education programs are canceling courses or closing education centers and it is unknown how long they may be impacted.

The Boards listed below have restrictions on the number or percentage of continuing-education hours that can be done through distance education. The governor granted a suspension of restrictions that limited the ability of licensees to take classes online or participate in distance-learning opportunities for the current biennial renewal period to permit all licensees to complete their continuing education online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This applies to the following boards and licensees:
  • STATE BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY
  • STATE BOARD OF MEDICINE – Licensed Respiratory Therapists
  • STATE BOARD OF MASSAGE THERAPY
  • STATE BOARD OF OPTOMETRY – Optometrists
  • STATE BOARD OF PODIATRY – Podiatrists
  • STATE BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE – Veterinarians
  • STATE BOARD OF DENTISTRY – Dentists, dental hygienists and expanded function dental assistants
  • STATE BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGY – Psychologists
  • STATE BOARD OF SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS – Licensed social workers, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists and professional counselors


Pennsylvania has been far behind most other states in their online continuing education allowances. When I contacted the state board about this several years ago, they said they relied on the Pennsylvania VMA for recommendations. What are you doing to increase the online continuing education allowances in Pennsylvania, not just temporarily but permanently?
The limits for online CE are part of the PA Veterinary Practice Act, which means changing them would be a legislative process that opens the entire practice act for change. Normally, PVMA tries to limit opening the practice act, as it could introduce other changes that we do not support. If there is a groundswell of support for opening the act to change CE requirements, PVMA will certainly look at advocating for this change.


SHORTAGE OF HUMAN MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND PPE

Given the probability that our human counterparts likely will become overwhelmed and need help and resources at some point in some locations, is there a coordinated mechanism for veterinarians to volunteer their services and/or supplies?  We may not be licensed to treat humans, but we certainly can triage, prepare treatments, take vitals, etc.
As of now, we know of no coordinated mechanism for volunteering services or supplies. The AVMA and PVMA are exploring ways to coordinate this effort and we will notify the veterinary community of any opportunities. PVMA has been informed that nursing homes and long-term care facilities cannot get PPE from PEMA unless they have an active COVID-19 case, and many of these facilities are low on supplies. Veterinarians can check with local health officials to see if there is an opportunity to help with drive through testing centers and other COVID-19 related services.

Is there a way for PVMA and AVMA to share with the general public the AVMA request for veterinarians to conserve PPE by delaying elective surgeries and dental cleanings? While my hospital has stated the rationale on our website and Facebook pages, there are comments from some clients stating they will "go elsewhere" to another clinic who will provide these services. Understandably, clients with female dogs that might go through estrus during this delay are concerned. While we are trying to educate our clients, it would help a lot if PVMA and AVMA could let the pet owners know that veterinary practices working to meet these AVMA requests are making the correct choice.
Yes, PVMA can work through social media to educate the public on the need to conserve supplies by canceling non-essential procedures. The AVMA also released some guidelines for use of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic when the demands exceeds the supply. Click here to view those guidelines.    


COVID-19 AND ANIMALS

Can animals act as fomites and/or vectors for COVID 19?
Despite one dog testing a “weak positive” for COVID-19 in Hong Kong, there is no evidence that animals can get or transmit the virus. IDEXX announced on March 14, 2020, that it had evaluated thousands of canine and feline specimens during validation of its new veterinary test system for the COVID-19 virus and had obtained no positive result. Considering this information in total, infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations (CDC, OIE, WHO) agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals or people.

How long does Coronavirus survive on a dog or cat of a corona positive owner once they are isolated?
There’s still a lot that’s unknown about SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and environmental persistence. CDC suggests Coronavirus can live on hard surfaces up to 3 days, but there’s more research coming out every day. Given the physical characteristics of cats and dogs, there is no evidence that the virus can survive on the animal for more than a couple of hours. Out of an abundance of caution, dogs that have had direct contact with a patient with COVID-19 can be bathed. Cats can be difficult to bathe, so quarantine is suggested in this situation.

Is the new Coronavirus similar to or related to any known Coronaviruses of veterinary significance?  What's the possibility of a mutation getting into the usual animal species we see?
SARS-CoV-2 is not closely related to the coronaviruses most familiar to veterinarians. Additionally, there are other more common strains of coronavirus, including HKU1, that cause the common cold in humans. While there is no way to predict the future, it seems likely that there will be a mutation that would facilitate another species jump and make it transmissible among animals.

Is there any information that identifies the time it takes from exposure to a positive TEST (no clinical signs)?
We are learning more about COVID-19, including the relationship between symptom onset and infectivity. There is new research every day, and we are doing our best to keep up with the science and base our public health decisions on that. A recent publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimated that the median incubation period from exposure to onset of symptoms is 5.1 days, with 97.5% of people who develop symptoms from COVID-19 will do so within 11.5 days after exposure. At this time, we are basing our public health investigations on symptom onset.

What is being done to give veterinary workers access to testing (i.e. to be tested)?
With testing still not widely available, testing is only being done on people who have traveled internationally in the previous two weeks, been in direct contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19 and has symptoms. If you or your team meet these criteria, a primary care physician should be called to arrange testing.

Are there thoughts or recommended protocols at this time for immunocompromised pets being around their quarantined owners?
There is no evidence at this time to indicate that the virus can spread from humans to animals. If a pet owner tests positive for COVID-19, they should limit their exposure to their pet or safely transfer to a trusted caregiver.

Most advice regarding potential/diagnosed COVID-19 patients is to have other family members care for pets while ill/isolated.  How do we advise single-human households? Can a pet be safely transferred out of the home of someone isolated/symptomatic to a non-isolated home which may allow a better quality of life?
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued the following advice to pet owners who may require care for their pet while sick with COVID-19:

  • Identify a family member or friend who can care for pets in case of illness.
  • Have crates, food, and extra supplies on hand for quick movement of pets.
  • Have the pet’s vaccination record available, in the event boarding becomes necessary.
  • Ensure all medications are documented with dosages and administering directions, including the prescription and contact information for your veterinarian.
  • Pets should have identification: collar with dog license and rabies tag, or any other vanity style tag with owner information. Information can also be placed on the pet's cage depending on the type of pet
  • Place a list of pets in the home on your front door for emergency responders. Include a description of each animal, location in home or on the property, and any other pertinent information specific to each animal.

Currently, there is no reason to believe that pets transmit the virus. When transferring a pet from the home of someone with COVID-19, contact with hard surfaces in the home should be avoided. You should thoroughly wash your hands after the transfer is made. You may consider bathing the dog (cats may be more difficult to bathe).


HUMAN RESOURCES

I am employed by a veterinary practice still booking non-essential services and not compliant with social distancing protocols. I am concerned about my exposure, and that of my family, to COVID-19. What should I do?
The governor’s order to close all non-essential services includes healthcare providers ceasing all elective procedures and services. If a practice is not in compliance, you can contact the State Veterinarian’s Office.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services
2301 North Cameron Street | Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717.705.1626 | Fax: 717.787.1868
agriculture.pa.gov

Specific HR and employment law questions should be directed to organizations such as:

 


For more updates on this pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Resources page.

 

 

 

Tags:  appointments  ce  clients  continuing  continuing education  corona  corona virus  covid  covid19  covid-19  distancing  elective  essential  health  human  pet  pets  procedures  resources  social  veterinarians  veterinary  veterinary medicine  virus 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

FAQs – Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Pennsylvania During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted By Jaime Markle, Monday, March 16, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020
COVID-19 FAQs

FAQs – Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Pennsylvania During the COVID-19 Pandemic

PVMA is working hard to give you timely, accurate information during the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge you to check our website, PaVMA.org frequently, as we will update it as the situation evolves. If you have questions not addressed in this post, click here and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.  

 

Is Veterinary Medicine an essential business?

On Monday, March 16, Governor Wolf announced that Pennsylvania is entering aggressive mitigation to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes the closing of all non-essential facilities. Are veterinary hospitals and ambulatory practices considered essential? According to the Governor’s office, essential services include emergency medical services and medical facilities. Governor Wolf's administration deems veterinary practices qualify as essential services, specifically for care of sick and injured animals. Veterinarians and our teams provide important animal care and public health surveillance. Production animal veterinarians are crucial for food safety.

 

What protocols should we put in place if our clinic remains open?

It is important that social distancing policies, consistent with your local restrictions, are enforced. We strongly suggest that you cancel all elective procedures and wellness visits. You may consider telemedicine options for non-emergent cases with established patients. There are various tools that can be used to conduct a video-enabled virtual exam. Remember, a telemedicine visit is not a free service. You can charge for the service if the animal is an established patient (generally seen in the past year), you document the visit and include it in the medical record in a manner consistent with the PA Veterinary Practice Act. AVMA has resources to support telemedicine at AVMA.org/Telemedicine.

If an animal is sick or injured and must have a physical exam, follow these recommendations:

  1. Ask the client to call the office on their cell phone when they arrive and have a technician go to the car to retrieve the animal. The client should remain in their car, or if they do stand outside, maintain 6-8 feet of distance between other people. They should be available by phone to discuss care during the exam. A technician can return the animal to the car upon completion of the exam.
  2. If clients do enter the practice, escort them to a private exam room immediately. Do not keep clients in a waiting room. Consider asking for the client’s cell phone number before they arrive and send a text when you are ready for them to enter.
  3. If a client has travelled outside the United States in March, came in direct contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, or has tested positive themselves, their animal should only be seen in emergency situations. They should send their animal to your practice with a trusted agent and be available by phone during the exam.
  4. Prescriptions and pet food purchases should also be conducted through car-side delivery service or shipped directly to the client.
  5. It is suggested rather than checking clients out in the reception area after their appointment, provide their invoice to them in the exam room or at their vehicle. There they can provide their method of payment and they can stay in the exam room or vehicle while you go complete the payment. This eliminates the need to spend time in the reception area. If clients are in their vehicle during the appointments or have arrived to pick up food/prescriptions, the same concept can apply for the staff member to review the invoice with them there and take payment back inside to complete. Additionally, less contact can also be accomplished by taking payments over the phone from their vehicle.

 

What if a staff member or visitor to our practice has tested positive for COVID-19?

You should immediately contact your local public health department to determine what protocols should be taken, consistent with local mitigation efforts.

 

I’m a production animal veterinarian. What should I be doing?

Your role in food safety is critical, so it is important to provide care to sick or injured animals. Limit direct contact with people, clean any non-porous surfaces with which you come in contact and wash your hands frequently.

 

Can animals contract or transmit COVID-19?

One dog tested “weak positive” for SARS-CoV-2. The dog showed no symptoms but was quarantined. In other testing, IDEXX announced on March 14, 2020, that it had evaluated thousands of canine and feline specimens during validation of its new veterinary test system for the COVID-19 virus and had obtained no positive result. The specimens used for test development and validation were obtained from specimens submitted to IDEXX Reference Laboratories for PCR testing.

Considering this information in total, infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations (CDC, OIE, WHO) agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals or people.

 

Should I be conserving personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Yes. All healthcare professionals are asked to conserve PPE as much as possible, including veterinarians. The FDA has provided guidance and veterinarian Scott Weese has provided helpful information on his blog. The AVMA is working on developing best practices and we will share this with you when available.

 

I am concerned about the impact on my business. What should I do?

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, the House passed HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We will share information on final legislation passed by the Senate as soon as it is available.

 

The following resources are also available for small businesses:

The coronavirus response business toolkit

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's toolkit includes guidelines on how small business owners can ensure they are keeping their customers and employees safe. You'll also find a business preparedness checklist to help you figure out what to prioritize and to create a plan of communication for your employees. Get the toolkit

 

Disaster assistance loans from the SBA

The Small Business Association (SBA) announced it would offer disaster assistance loans for up to $2 million for small businesses affected by the coronavirus. These low-interest loans are available to businesses that have sustained "substantial economic injury" due to the spread of the coronavirus. The money can be used to pay outstanding debts, payroll, and any other bills. While small businesses that have access to credit are not eligible, those with no available credit qualify for an interest rate of 3.75%, and nonprofits will have an interest rate of 2.75%. Read more

 

Disaster Help Desk for small businesses

The U.S. Chamber Foundation has a disaster help desk that acts as an information concierge to assist small businesses with disaster readiness, relief, and long-term recovery. They also have a business resiliency toolbox with resources to help companies address preparedness issues while building in flexibility to handle potential business interruptions. Read more

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit our webpage.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:  animal  animals  businesses  care  client  covid  covid19  coviid-19  disaster  exam  medicine  telemedicine  veterinarians 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Important Message Regarding COVID-19: Gain practical advice on managing your clinics through this public health emergency

Posted By Jaime Markle, Monday, March 16, 2020
COVID-19 Header

Important Message Regarding COVID-19

Gain practical advice on managing your clinics through this public health emergency.


Many PVMA members are calling us for practical advice on managing their clinics through this public health emergency, especially in areas such as Montgomery County, where the Governor has recommended the closing of all non-essential businesses. While each situation is unique, here are some suggestions to ensure that your staff and clients stay as safe as possible.

  1. Cancel all non-essential services for a minimum of two weeks. This is especially advisable in areas such as Montgomery County that have seen the largest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  2. Limit office staff to those essential for treating emergent cases. This may mean a couple veterinarians and a couple technicians are available to treat sick and injured animals. Assign one staff person to meet the client and take them to an exam room in order to limit time spent in a communal waiting room. You may also consider allowing clients to wait in the car until they can be seen and calling their cell phone when you are ready to see them.
  3. Assign non-essential staff to tasks that don’t involve public contact. There are many important jobs in a veterinary practice that do not involve public interaction. Forward booking those cancelled non-essential services will help ensure a quick return to normalcy. Take inventory of supplies and update your patient hand-outs. Now is a good time to write that article you never seem to have time to tackle.
  4. Clean, clean, clean! Frequently disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched such as keyboards, doorknobs, countertops, and stethoscopes. Use no-touch trash receptacles. Place hand sanitizer throughout your clinic and encourage their use. Allow clients to use sinks to wash their hands if no sanitizer is available.
  5. Practice hygiene. Team members should avoid close contact with people who are ill; wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth; and most importantly, they should stay home if they are sick. If they get sick at work, they should go home immediately.
  6. Sick team members who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness should stay at home and should not return to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F or lower, using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicine (e.g., cough suppressants).
  7. If a team member is confirmed to have COVID-19 – the practice owner should inform other team members of possible exposure while maintaining patient confidentiality. Anyone exposed should contact their physician or local health department to determine how to proceed.
  8. If you decide to close your office, make sure you have the closest emergency clinic information on your voicemail and website. You might also consider sending an email notification of the closure to all clients.
  9. In addition to these recommendations, the AVMA has great resources for veterinarians at AVMA.org/Coronavirus. You should also check Coronavirus.gov for up-to-date information from the CDC.

In addition to the information above, PVMA also wanted to share that Pennsylvania's Animal Laboratory System (PADLS) will remain open despite multiple university closings.


For more information regarding COVID-19, visit our webpage.

Tags:  clinics  corona  corona virus  covid  covid19  covid-19  hospitals  illness  infection  pet  pets  protocol  spread  strain  test  testing  transmission  transmit  treatment  vet  vet practice  veterinary  virus 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Can My Pet Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Posted By Jaime Markle, Friday, March 6, 2020
Updated: Sunday, March 8, 2020
COVID-19 Header

Can My Pet Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The new Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has been rapidly traveling the globe has been reported in Pennsylvania as infecting a few people. There has also been a report out of Hong Kong that a dog, that was owned by an infected person, tested a weak positive for the virus. This has raised concern among the pet-owning public that their pets may be a reservoir for the virus and potentially spread it. Dr. Bryan Langlois, Medical Director of the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and Immediate Past-President of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA), states that this is not the case and people should not be alarmed about this finding.

“Right now, there is no scientific evidence that the COVID-19 virus can cause illness in your pets or serve as a mechanism of transmission to other people,” explains Langlois. “They have been able to isolate it in testing one dog in Hong Kong, but that does not really mean anything at this time other than they looked for it, and they found it. There is no evidence it has caused any infection in any dog, cat, or horse at this time. There is also no evidence supporting that it can be spread from these animals to humans. It appears they tested for this more out of scientific curiosity than concern for possible spread. Many times, doctors and scientists find things they do not expect when testing both humans and animals, but they have no clinical significance.”

If your pet does experience signs of sneezing or coughing it is still wise to have them seen by a veterinarian to make sure something else is not going on, Dr. Langlois explains. “These are still signs of a possible infection, just not the new Coronavirus . It is still very important to have your dog or cat seen for these signs to ensure they do not need to receive any treatment for other infections.”

Some pet owners may be aware of dogs, cats, and even horses being able to be infected with Coronavirus . “This is true, says Langlois, but it is not that straight forward. It is true animals can become infected with Coronavirus , but these are different strains of Corona that are unique to these animals. In fact, one form of Coronavirus in cats can lead to the disease Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) in cats. These are not the same strains of virus as COVID-19 and we want pet owners to understand this.”

Dr. Langlois says research is continually ongoing and the best place to get the most accurate and up-to-date information for the health of your pets regarding COVID-19 is your local veterinarian. “Things have been changing rapidly regarding this new virus and information changes daily. At this time it does not appear to be a cause for concern for pets, and we currently do not feel it will be, but it is always wise to stay abreast of the latest information and not be afraid to reach out to your veterinarian with any questions you may have. It still remains, of course, that good hygiene practices such as regular hand washing, especially after playing with dogs and cats or cleaning up after them, are the best defense against any infection.”

Pet owners looking for more information on the spread of COVID-19 and the health of their pets can visit the American Veterinary Medical Association website.

About the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)
Founded in 1883, PVMA is PA’s only statewide professional membership organization for the veterinary profession representing over 3,400 veterinarians, certified veterinary technicians, assistants, practice managers, and other support staff. Our mission is to ensure the vitality of the profession by promoting excellence in veterinary medicine, advancing animal health and welfare, and protecting & enhancing human health. To learn more visit PaVMA.org.

###

Media Contact:

Jaime Markle
Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)
Director of Marketing & Communications
JMarkle@PaVMA.org
P: 717.220.1437

Tags:  corona  corona virus  covid  covid19  covid-19  illness  infection  pet  pets  spread  strain  test  testing  transmission  transmit  treatment  virus 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Take Our Veterinary Nurse Initiative (VNI) Survey!

Posted By Jaime Markle, Wednesday, January 29, 2020
VNI Survey Header

Take Our Veterinary Nurse Initiative (VNI) Survey!

Veterinary Medicine is successful due to each member of the team. From the Veterinarian, to the Managers, Veterinary Technicians, Veterinary Assistants, Kennel Assistants, and Receptionists; we all work together as a team in order to do what is best for our patients. Veterinary Technicians are a vital part of this team. The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) is the organization that represents Veterinary Technicians in our country. They have announced the Veterinary Nursing Initiative (VNI) to help improve career outlook, increase career opportunities, and fight to improve conditions for Veterinary Technicians in the workplace. Currently, there are 4 recognized titles for a Credentialed Veterinary Technician that are governed by the state in which they practice. This includes Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT), Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) and Licensed Veterinary Medical Technician (LVMT). NAVTA is proposing a unified title for all 50 states, requiring a title change in each state. This proposed title change would be Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN). In order for this goal from NAVTA to be achieved, each state would have to propose this change individually. The question that falls to us now is this: Will Pennsylvania change this title of Certified Veterinary Technician to Registered Veterinary Nurse in order to better utilize credentialed individuals and create a unified understanding of job responsibilities?

PVMA knows the importance, hard work, training, and knowledge of Veterinary Technicians. We recognize the importance of the movement that NAVTA has proposed. Now, we would like to ask our members to share their opinion. PVMA has a survey to ask you for your opinion on the VNI and whether or not we are ready for it in our state. Veterinary Technicians across the state have been calling for change. Now is the time to stand up; now is the time to add your voice! The more numbers we have, the greater our voice will be. We urge you to make sure your colleagues are PVMA members and can take part in this important survey.

PVMA has started a task force to address the concerns of technicians in our state and we want to hear from you. Please participate in the survey to help the PVMA decide which direction we want to take. If you wish to take part in the task force, please let us know. Now is the time for change. Speak up and let your voice be heard!

PVMA Support Staff At-Large - Nicholas Rivituso, CVT, VTS (ECC)

PVMA President - Kate Harnish, DVM, CVPM

Take Survey

 

 

 

Tags:  certified  change  cvt  initiative  lvmt  lvt  members  navta  nurse  opinion  registered veterinary nurse  registered veterinary technician  rvn  survey  task force  technician  veterinary  vni 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

FDA: Dog Food May Cause Heart Problems

Posted By Jaime Markle, Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Dog in hot car

FDA: Dog Food May Cause Heart Problems

Harrisburg, PA: The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released their third update on June 27, 2019 regarding the investigation that feeding dogs “grain-free” food increases heart-related issues. The FDA began the investigation in July 2018 after reports of several dog illnesses and fatalities which appeared to have links back to boutique-style dog food labeled as “grain-free”. This latest update, and the investigation which prompted it, are causing a hysteria in the dog-lover community.

Bryan R. Langlois, DVM, President of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) clarifies that there is no need for panic, “First off, there is a saying that ‘Correlation does not equal Causation’ and that is what we have here. After first seeing an increase in cases of a specific type of heart condition in dogs, called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), where the heart muscle thins and weakens causing a difficulty in normal pumping ability, some cardiologists were noticing a lot of these dogs were being fed what are known as ‘boutique’ or ‘grain-free diets’ by their owners.” Dr. Langlois continues, “The FDA is not specifically stating that these diets cause these conditions in the dogs. They have just noted a correlation between the two. They have not issued any recalls for these foods. They are simply asking veterinarians to further study the issue.”

“Your relationship with your veterinarian is particularly important in these types of situations,” added PVMA Executive Director, Christian D. Malesic, MBA, CAE, IOM. “Abrupt changes can sometimes be more harmful. Rushing out to the pet store to find a replacement food for your dog may not be the best solution. In fact, you might just cause a problem that didn’t previously exist. Consult with your veterinarian first.”

Should you be concerned? Look for changes in behavior as a first sign. Dr. Langlois explains, “Dilated Cardiomyopathy can have many causes, and sometimes is a genetic condition in various breeds. Signs that your dog might be affected by a heart condition include coughing, being more lethargic, tiring more easily on walks, possibly fainting or getting very weak, loss of appetite, and sometimes swelling in the abdomen. If you see any of these signs in your dog it is important to have them checked by your veterinarian.”

About the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

Founded in 1883, PVMA is PA’s only statewide professional membership organization for the veterinary profession representing over 3,400 veterinarians, certified veterinary technicians, assistants, practice managers, and other support staff. Our mission is to ensure the vitality of the profession by promoting excellence in veterinary medicine, advancing animal health and welfare, and protecting & enhancing human health. To learn more visit PaVMA.org.

###

Media Contact:

Jaime Markle
Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)
Director of Marketing & Communications
JMarkle@PaVMA.org
P: 717.220.1437

Tags:  boutique  brands  cardiomyopathy  cause  condition  dcm  diet  dog  dog food  dogs  fda  food  grain  grain free  heart  heart disease  recall  report  veterinarian  veterinarians 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

PVMA & PA Dept. of Agriculture Remind You To Keep Your Pets Safe

Posted By Jaime Markle, Monday, July 1, 2019

PVMA & PA Dept. of Agriculture Remind You To Keep Your Pets Safe

Meet Chance...he has something important to say about protecting our furry friends. Veterinary practices - we encourage you to share this with your clients. Let's keep our pets protected in PA. A special thank you to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for their assistance in creating this video.

All dogs three months or older must be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs. If your dog gets lost, a current license is the fastest way to get him back. The small license fee helps the millions of dogs in the state by funding the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Purchase a license from your county treasurer or issuing agent. For more information, visit LicenseYourDogPA.com.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Animals and Hot Cars Don’t Mix

Posted By Jaime Markle, Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Dog in hot car

Animals and Hot Cars Don’t Mix

Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvanians are gearing up for the hot and hazy days of summer. With the hot weather just around the corner, animals will have an extra level of protection from the extreme heat of cars this year. Owners are always encouraged to keep their animals safe and away from hot cars while unattended. This will be the first summer, however, that animals will have a new law that empowers law enforcement agencies to save them if owners fall short of their care responsibilities.

In October of last year, Gov. Wolf signed into law The Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, which allows law enforcement officers to break into an unattended vehicle to rescue an animal left alone, if they believe the animal to be in imminent danger, after a reasonable search for the car owner. “Research has shown that the internal vehicle temperature can rise thirty-five degrees in as little as a half hour when outside temperatures approach one hundred degrees,” according to Christian D. Malesic, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association. “Rising temperatures, humidity, and stagnant air flow causes a greenhouse effect quickly placing the lives of animals in danger if not removed from the adverse conditions.”

Act 104 of 2018, formerly known as ‘The Hot Car Bill’, provides legal authority with civil immunity to animal control and humane officers, emergency responders, and law enforcement officers who remove unattended animals from vehicles when they’re in danger from heat or cold. “The law protects animals in the heat of the summer, but also in the cold of the winter,” Malesic explains. “In fact, any animal in distress can be rescued under the protection of this law during any season, even for issues such as being tangled in their leash or having their head stuck in a cracked-open window.” In addition to making a reasonable effort to find the vehicle owner prior to entering the vehicle, the person who performed the rescue must leave a note with contact information and the location at which the animal can be retrieved.

If you see an animal that may need help, call 911 and stay with the vehicle until they arrive. “Do not attempt to free the animal yourself,” cautions Malesic. “Although Act 104 gives immunity to law enforcement officers, it does not give immunity to you. So, the vehicle owner could take civil action against you for your actions. It is very important to note this is not a Good Samaritan law.”

The risk of an animal overheating is high and can become life-threatening quickly, especially as the thermometer begins to rise. Ensure your animal is always safe and attended to while transporting them across the Keystone state.

About the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

Founded in 1883, PVMA is PA’s only statewide professional membership organization for the veterinary profession representing over 3,400 veterinarians, certified veterinary technicians, assistants, practice managers, and other support staff. Our mission is to ensure the vitality of the profession by promoting excellence in veterinary medicine, advancing animal health and welfare, and protecting & enhancing human health. To learn more visit PaVMA.org.

###

Media Contact:

Jaime Markle
Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)
Director of Marketing & Communications
JMarkle@PaVMA.org
P: 717.220.1437

Tags:  911  animal  animals  car  cars  danger  dangerous  death  distress  enforcement  heat  hot  immunity  officers  prevention  temperatures  threat  unattended  vehicle 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

A Reminder to All Animal Owners to Take Proper Precautions to Protect Their Animals from the Extreme Cold Expected to Hit the Region

Posted By Jaime Markle, Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

 

Harrisburg, PA: The current President of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA), Bryan Langlois, DVM, wants to remind all animal owners that the extreme cold weather in over the next few days can present life-threatening dangers to their pets and farm animals. Owners are urged to take the proper precautions to prevent excessive exposure of their animals to this cold.

“While some animals are bred to handle the cold better than others, the extreme cold snap coming presents dangers to all animals,” says Dr. Langlois. Animal owners should keep these tips in mind:

  • Limiting time outdoors and walks for dogs to 10-15 minutes. Shorter coated breeds and those less tolerant of the cold should wear some kind of jacket. Frostbite can affect the ears and feet of these animals.
  • Any dog that is outside should have adequate shelter that is protected from all the elements and wind to allow the dog to maintain warmth. Do NOT use blankets in these shelters but rather straw, as blankets can get wet and thus actually pulls heat from the dog. Even breeds that are very cold tolerant, such as Huskies, Malamutes, and Newfoundlands should still have a shelter available to them.
  • When using any sort of ice melter or salt, please try to find pet-friendly varieties. When finished walking your dog, wipe off their paws with a dampened towel to remove any salt or ice melt residue to prevent them from ingesting it by licking it off their paws. This can cause some vomiting and diarrhea in your dog.
  • Do not tether your dog outside for any longer than 10-15 minutes when the temperatures are below 32 degrees. Pennsylvania law states it IS illegal to tether them for longer than 30 minutes in such temperatures.
  • Do not leave pets locked in cars during the extreme cold weather, as they can easily start to suffer the effects of hypothermia even though they are in the car.
  • Make sure to completely dry off your dog if they become wet for any reason, as a wet coat does not allow them to conserve heat normally.
  • If ice/snow balls accumulate on your dog’s coat, please gently remove them to prevent frostbite setting in on the skin just under them.v
  • If you are taking care of feral cat colonies, please make sure dry shelter is available to them and bring them fresh water a few times a day as water will freeze very quickly in these temperatures. Heated outdoor water bowls are a good idea for them as well.
  • For those who own livestock or horses, please check on them regularly. For horses, make sure their shelters are sturdy and properly bedded with straw. If automatic waterers are used, make sure they are working and do not freeze. Oftentimes, fresh water needs to be brought to them multiple times a day. Colic in horses is a very severe concern due to lack of adequate water intake. Horses should be monitored to make sure they do not need to have blankets put on during this weather.
  • Remember, that in cold temperatures animals burn more calories to stay warm, so make sure pets and livestock are fed appropriately for the weather conditions.
  • Monitor your animals for any signs of early hypothermia (being listless, disorientated, uncontrolled shivering, etc.) and alert your veterinarian immediately if any of these conditions are seen.

“Cold-related deaths of animals are 100% preventable, so we urge everyone to take the proper precautions now for the health and wellbeing of their animals,” says Dr. Langlois. “In addition, if you see any animal out in the elements that is not properly cared for or in danger because of the cold, please contact your local law enforcement agency about it immediately so the situation can be corrected.”

For more information about protecting animals from cold weather, visit PAVMA.org.

About the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

Founded in 1883, PVMA is PA’s only statewide professional membership organization for the veterinary profession representing over 3,400 veterinarians, certified veterinary technicians, assistants, practice managers, and other support staff. Our mission is to ensure the vitality of the profession by promoting excellence in veterinary medicine, advancing animal health and welfare, and protecting, and enhancing human health. To learn more visit PAVMA.org.

###

 

Media Contact:

Jaime Markle
Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)
Director of Marketing & Communications
8574 Paxton Street
Hummelstown, PA 17036
JMarkle@PaVMA.org
P: 717.220.1437 x103

Tags:  animal  animals  cat  cats  cold  dog  dog law  extreme  feral  freezing  frozen  horses  hypothermia  ice  pets  precautions  shelter  temperatures  tether  weather 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 4
1  |  2  |  3  |  4