The simple answer is, yes. This is a confusing time and we are all trying to make the best decisions we can in a new situation.
Governor Wolf has ordered that non-life sustaining businesses should close until at least April 30. At Hometown Veterinary Hospital, and in most of veterinary medicine, this means sick pets and emergency situations can be seen but elective procedures and the majority of preventative medicine should be postponed until the concerns regarding Covid-19 have lessened.
There are several reasons behind this decision including:
• Decreasing the amount of interactions with public to decrease spread of Covid-19
• Protect staff from risks of contracting Covid-19 by decreasing appointments seen
• Preserve as much medical equipment as possible for the human side of medicine as the system is strained to its limit and beyond with outbreaks of Covid-19 in different areas of the country
In the past, veterinarians have always pushed for getting vaccines every 1-3 years (depending on the vaccine) and exams annually; now we are telling you it can wait. It is a confusing message to hear.
In reality, if your pet has been up-to-date on vaccines its whole life and now you are a few weeks late getting them in, they will be okay. Vaccines do not automatically stop working at the 1-or 3-year mark, but we encourage timely vaccines as this is what has been researched and shown to be most effective.
With the current pandemic and social distancing recommendations, delaying vaccination until May is unlikely to have a negative effect. It is not clear what the right course of action is if you have a new puppy in the house that has not been vaccinated.
Please call your veterinarian to discuss recommendations as this is a gray area in the spectrum of essential medicine that does not have a clear answer.
And what about those ever-pressing nail trim and anal gland appointments? It is hard to put these off for many owners but in reality, these procedures are not considered life-sustaining so must wait until it is safe for the general public.
During this time, where life as we know it has been turned upside down, please know that veterinarians are doing their best to balance caring for your pet and protecting public safety as we are sworn to do:
“Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.”