March 23, 2020
To our CAC family,
We continue to remain open to take care of your pet’s health care needs. Please rest assured that our staff will be here for you and your pets. Our managers, K.C. and Kristin, along with our team of doctors have been working to make sure our clients, your pets, and our staff are safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and have already put strict protocols into place to ensure everyone’s safety.
At this time, we are only seeing curbside (pet only) and virtual exams. Call us when you arrive from the parking lot, our staff will come outside to discuss treatment and medical concerns and to collect your pet. The doctor will call you with their findings and recommendations; our team will continue to review treatment plans with you prior to treatment. We have set up electronic payments so you can pay while you wait in your vehicle. Prescriptions and food will be brought out to you – just call us when you arrive.
Please be patient while we navigate through our new “normal” to accommodate you and everyone else’s safety.
We applaud our dedicated and caring staff and again ask for your patience.
Dr. Lyne and the Chester Animal Clinic Staff
March 14, 2020
In the midst of recent developments with COVID-19 (The Coronavirus), we are implementing a plan to help protect our clients and our team. These may be updated with the changing environment surrounding the Corona Virus. Please watch your email for further developments.
So far, there has not been evidence that pets are able to transmit the virus back and forth with humans and we are not concerned about handling and treating patients. Our concern is human to human transmission. The greatest risks for transmission are through airborne particles. Our rooms and spaces are small and a single cough could infect every person in the room. Surface contamination is another mode of transmission and is something we already manage in our routine operations. We routinely disinfect surfaces and wash our hands and avoid touching our faces to prevent transmission between patients and between humans. We are adjusting our practices to focus more on limiting exposure between humans.
Our Internal Cleaning Plan
- We have medical grade disinfectant that we will now use to clean the front desk surfaces and the credit card machine after each user.
- Our credit card machine is on the desk for you to operate yourself. Don’t forget that we accept Apple Pay and Google Pay which can also limit your surface contact.
- In addition to our usual exam room cleaning, we will also be cleaning the exam room door handles between appointments.
- We will use the same disinfectant to clean the outside door handle as much as possible throughout the day. The front door can be pushed open on the way out without touching it.
- If you need to wash your hands during or at the end of your visit with us, please don’t hesitate to ask and we’ll guide you to our bathroom.
- We will disinfect the faucet handles on the bathroom sink after each use. Our two other sinks have lever handles which can be shut off with an elbow.
- We will be disinfecting our phones and desks, keyboards and mouse surfaces at least once daily.
Non-Traditional Appointment Options
We don’t want a pet who needs help to go without veterinary care. If you are concerned about limiting your exposure, have possibly been exposed yourself or have undiagnosed symptoms please ask for one of these special options. If you think you may have symptoms, please don’t be shy about telling us, we all want to be as safe as possible. We have two options:
- Pet Only Appointment (Curbside Appointment). We will meet you outside the front door and take your pet inside for an exam. You can remain in your car during the appointment and the doctor will speak with you on the phone about your pet. We will also check you out over the phone before you leave. Then we will meet you outside the front door with your pet and any needed medications. If your pet is overly anxious without you present, we can plan for a safe sedative to give prior to the appointment to make the experience less worrisome.
- Telemedicine. Our AirVet app for Android and Apple devices is an excellent way for us to have a consultation with your pet while you remain comfortably at home. If you have not yet downloaded the AirVet app, search your device’s app store and search for AirVet- and download it today. We will include a link to both in FaceBook, the links can also be found on our website. We can consult with you over the phone with a live video feed. Not all problems can be diagnosed this way and a Pet Only Appointment may be needed. Telemedicine appointments will still incur exam fees just as if you were coming to see us. Payment will also be taken over the phone and through the app. If medications are needed, we can hand them out the front door when you arrive or leave them on the back door for you to pick up.
- There is a blog included in this post that should answer most of your questions about AirVet.
- Surgical Drop Offs as a Pet Only Appointment. Normally you come in and sign your surgical estimate and provide a phone number where you can be reached while your pet is in our care. We can email you the estimate to complete prior to your arrival. You may scan it and email it back to us or hand it to us outside the front door when you arrive with your pet. Pick up will be the same as a Pet Only Appointment. Our surgical discharge will be scheduled prior to check-in and done over the phone or through the AirVet app.
- Medication Supply. There may be future problems with medication supplies. Currently there are no issues with getting medications. We will be monitoring the situation and work around any supply chain problems the best we can.
- If you are currently purchasing your pet’s medications from a human pharmacy and would like to avoid going there, please call us. We may be able to provide those medications or special order them for you so you don’t have to wait with sick humans at the pharmacy for your pet’s medication.
- Our Online Pharmacy is also an option for pets who don’t need medication immediately, although there is an option for next day shipping for an additional cost. We’d be happy to help you set that up.
Our goal is for Chester Animal Clinic to be the least risky place you visit outside of home so your pets can still get the care they need without risking your own health. We also want our team members to stay healthy so we can continue to provide you with the thoughtful care you have come to know with us. As always, feel free to call or text us with any questions, 804-748-2244.
Many of you may already be taking advantage of technology when it comes to your health with virtual visits with your personal physician. Some human doctors don’t even require an office visit- and you can make your appointment and have your consultation with your physician in front of your computer (with a webcam) or even on your cellphone. The same thing is now happening in the veterinary world- and we’re excited that we’ve partnered with airVet- a service where you and your pet can have a consultation with a veterinarian from the comfort of your own home.
If your pet(s) are currently patients of Chester Animal Clinic, you have already received an invitation via email and text messages with instructions on how to sign up for airVet, and how to download the app for your phone. The invitation would be sent to the email address we have on file for you at the hospital. The free app is now available in both the App Store and on Google Play. The app is available only for smartphones or tablets- and is not available for PC or Mac platforms.
Please know that these virtual appointments are not a substitute for your pet’s annual visit to your veterinarian’s office. We still need to physically see your pet each year, so we can weigh them, listen to their heart and lungs, look in their eyes and ears, check their mouth. We can’t do all of those things online.
During a virtual visit, our veterinarians can only dispense medical advice, diagnose issues, prescribe treatment or medications if we have an existing VCPR– which is a Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship. This means we have physically seen your pet within the last year within our hospital as a patient. This is specific to the pet you’re scheduling the virtual visit for, and not for another pet in the household. These aren’t our rules, they’re guidelines set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) who sets standards for our entire industry.
If we don’t have a valid VCPR with you and your pet, we can still schedule a virtual appointment, but we will be limited as to the advice we can dispense for you and your pet. It may be limited to whether or not you should seek medical treatment within a hospital or clinic setting, or may suggest you take your pet to an emergency clinic.
When Should I use airVet?
Virtual appointments through the airVet app are excellent for conditions that can be seen by the naked eye, or if they’re exhibiting an abnormal behavior or trait- like walking with a limp, has a newly formed skin condition, or is coughing/wheezing. These are just a few of the examples. Virtual visits are also great for medical progress exams following up on recent surgeries, treatments or illnesses.
It’s a great way to get peace of mind when you feel that your pet isn’t acting themselves. You know your pet best- so if you don’t think they’re quite right, an airVet consultation is a great way to determine if your pet needs to be seen, or if we should schedule an appointment at a later date.
Understand that we may still need to see your pet in the hospital based on our observations during the virtual appointment.
Things to consider that will make for a successful virtual appointment
Find a location that is well lit and quiet. Minimize distractions like noise from televisions or music, as background noise may make it difficult for your veterinarian to hear you or your pet clearly.
Avoid bright background light or ‘backlighting’ which will make it difficult for your veterinarian to see your pet.
Be prepared with as much information as you can provide- examples are:
- Do a ‘trial run’ with your pet prior to the appointment, holding your cell phone or tablet in front of them and their trouble spots so you know how they might react.
- When did you first notice the change in condition?
- Have there been changes in their eating/drinking/elimination habits?
- Is the condition better/worse at different times of the day? (morning/night)?
- Have there been any changes in their environment?
A few things to keep in mind:
Do not use this service if you feel your pet is experiencing a medical emergency. If your pet is suffering from respiratory distress, experiencing seizures, profusely bleeding or has any other potentially life-threatening conditions. In these cases, take your pet to a veterinarian or emergency care facility immediately.
Remember that we may still need to see your pet in the hospital. Not all virtual appointments can result in an immediate solution for your pet’s condition.
Your veterinarian may not always be available at the exact moment you request a virtual visit. Our veterinarians still see scheduled appointments in the hospital, and believe it or not, they have days off, too. You will be able to see their availability when you log in to your airVet account. Even when they show available, there may still be a short delay before you are connected and your virtual appointment begins.
This is an emerging technology, and we’re excited to be able to add it to our list of services.
Download the app for your smartphone by tapping the appropriate icon below. Remember- these are for your phone only, and are not available for Mac or PC.