A veterinarian checks a cat at Riyadh’s animal shelter, dedicated to caring for animals amid fear that cats and dogs might contract or transmit the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 4, 2020. Picture taken May 4, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Veterinary clinic visits have had to evolve due to the coronavirus pandemic across the United States. On March 24, the FDA “suspended its rules requiring vets to physically examine pets, allowing them to prescribe drugs with a video examination.” At a vet clinic in Long Island, no clients are allowed inside the building, everything is operated on a curbside basis, and grooming is considered a non-essential service. Some veterinarians have noted a recent increase in visits related to pets “stressed out by change in routine of their humans, and no longer having the daily periods of peace they enjoyed when they were home alone.”

On May 12, the CDC released interim guidance for veterinarians and their staff on providing companion animal medical care during the coronavirus pandemic. The document outlined what types of in-office visits to prioritize, how to protect staff while leaving PPE supplies available for frontline doctors, and what plans to have in place in case of exposure to COVID-19.

California, however, has restricted telemedicine for veterinary clinics, leading numerous vets to schedule in-office visits for “simple issues like treating allergies, prescribing heartworm medications and managing behavior issues.” Over 5,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking California to ease its restrictions, which the state’s Veterinary Medical Board is considering in the form of two provisions.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Vets ‘may not survive’ Covid-19 without cash help – BBC News – 5/19/2020
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) said urgent action was needed to avert practice closures. A recent survey found half of practices had seen turnover drop by 50% or more, with a quarter losing 75% of business.

It’s a dogfight at America’s pet stores as COVID-19 upends the $96 billion industry – Fortune – 5/19/2020
PetSmart and Petco are not the only ones to see a veterinary opportunity, of course. Walmart is opening vet clinics at 1,000 stores by 2023 by leasing space to clinic operators; it has also beefed up its online veterinary pharmacy. And Tractor Supply Co, a retailer with a major pet-supply presence, has pop-up vet clinics at some stores (though those are currently closed because of COVID-19).

Pets for Life helps Madison pet owners survive the pandemic – The Cap Times – 5/19/2020
The novel coronavirus has changed just about everything about Middleton’s work. Spay and neuter surgeries, deemed elective procedures, are on hold due to stay-at-home orders, and veterinary interns now do telemedicine consults instead of home visits. 

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Worldcrunch on Twitter, 5/19/2020: #Coronavirus global brief🗞️ We need a crackdown on the illicit trade of exotic animals, veterinary medicine needs to be taken more seriously and the entire meat industry needs an overhaul to prevent the spread of diseases even more dangerous than #COVID19.

Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan on Twitter, 5/19/2020: PS: vet clinics are essential services so you can neuter your pet even during this lockdown.

John ‘Murder Hornet’ Cardillon on Twitter, 5/19/2020: Oh give me a break. You’re protecting nothing but govt. control and a lack of transparency. And hope patients boycott any veterinary practice or doctor’s office that implements this moronic f*cking policy.…

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