COVID-19 Infection Control at Maroubra Vet

COVID-19 Infection Control at Maroubra Vet

Keeping Our Clients and Staff Safe

To ensure the safety of our valued clients, their pets and staff members, Maroubra Veterinary Hospital (MVH) has implemented some important changes to the way we practise. The health and well-being of our pet clients we treat is paramount and we appreciate your understanding during this difficult time.  Although our staff members will be practising a safe distance from our human clients, we will be delivering the same friendly and professional service.

Veterinary services have been classified as an ‘essential service’ by the Government and therefore we can continue to keep looking after your pets’ health and wellbeing during this pandemic.

Please do not enter our hospital if:

You or a member of your family living with you are feeling unwell or have a fever, cough or sore throat.

Have been in contact with someone testing positive to Convid-19.

Have just returned from overseas travel and is in self-quarantine.

If you are in self-isolation, please contact MVH on (02) 9344 8722 and a video consultation with one of our veterinarians can be arranged.

Veterinary Reception Area

In order to practise appropriate social distancing, our practice has implemented a 1 person rule for clients waiting in reception. Where possible, we will move you straight into a consultation room to wait for your consult with your pet.  We request our clients to only have one owner present for all consultations during this difficult time. We politely request that clients wait outside until the reception area is clear and we have called you inside.

Veterinary Consultations

Appointments are essential so that we can control the number of people in the hospital at any given point in time and to avoid excessive waiting time. To keep everyone safe, we will be avoiding the use of consultation rooms where possible.

Your vet will discuss your pet’s medical history and anything specific you would like addressed in the waiting room or outside.  If you prefer, one of our vets can discuss your pet’s history and medical queries over the telephone before you visit us to minimise your time in person.  Please let us know if you prefer this at the time of making your appointment.  You can also email us your pets history beforehand via pets@maroubravets.com.au

At the time of your appointment, one of our vets or vet nurses will take your pet into the consultation room for examination and treatment whilst you wait in the waiting area.  Rest assured that no treatment or procedure will be performed without your express consent.  After the examination, our vet will discuss with you our findings and recommendations.

Payment

At this time, we will only accept payment by car only versus handling of cash and any potential contamination.  Payments can be made over the telephone (02) 9344 8722 prior to your appointment via credit card or in person using our EFTPOS machine. We encourage the use of hand sanitiser before and after payment if the EFTPOS terminal is handled for PIN entry.

We also wipe down our EFTPOS machine after every transaction.

Infection Control Within the Practice

Veterinarians are highly skilled in the management of infectious disease control.  In fact, some of the most highly infectious diseases, like Parvovirus occur in our pets.

In order to keep you and our staff members safe during this time, we have implemented appropriate procedures and protocols including:

  • Use of alcohol hand rubs and handwashing between all staff and client interactions.
  • Regular and frequent disinfecting of all hospital areas including door handles, benches, EFTPOS terminal, reception counter, seating, light switches and power points using hospital-grade disinfectant and wipes
  • Practising social distancing within the workplace
  • Wearing gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) where appropriate.
  • Keeping doors open between rooms where practical within the hospital to limit the use of door handles
  • Disinfection of equipment such as stethoscopes, thermometers and light sources between patients

Puppy Pre-School

Please note that our Puppy Pre-School is currently closed due to the Government restrictions on social distancing.

Repeat Medication Requests

For pets on chronic medication, we recommend having a 3-month supply at home. Please phone us on (02) 9344 8722 with your order and we will organise a courier delivery via Sendle for an additional $7.95 (free delivery for orders over $100). This helps reduce traffic through the clinic and reduce human to human contact.

Please note that vets must comply with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for S4 prescription medicines. It is at the vet’s discretion on a case by case basis as to whether repeat medication is allowed to be dispensed. Please rest assured that in these unprecedented times, we will endeavour to be as flexible as possible with regards to the dispensing of repeat medication.

 Food orders

We are taking food orders as per usual through our regular suppliers.

Requests for medication and food may be made via telephone on (02) 9344 8722 or via email pets@maroubravets.com.au

Can my pet catch Covid-19 coronavirus?

There is still a lot of unknowns with Covid-19 coronavirus, however at this stage, there is no evidence that pets play a role in human transmission. However, this answer comes with the caveat that we are still in the early stages of the pandemic and much is still to be learned about this virus.  Our veterinarians are being updated frequently as research emerges about this virus.

You can also download a copy of this important information from our news & tips section on our website at: https://maroubravet.com.au/news-pet-tips/

Thank you, Dr Adam Gordon & MVH Team

COVID-19 Update from Maroubra Vet

By Dr Adam Gordon B.V.Sc. (Hons)., M.V.S.

Over the past few weeks, we have all been impacted by the Corona Virus (COVID-19) which has also created a lot of uncertainty and questions. We therefore thought it would be helpful to provide our clients with an update on the COVID-19 virus and answer some questions you may have in relation to how it may impact pets as well as the practices we are taking in the clinic to keep our clients and their pets safe.

What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that infect birds and mammals, including humans. They are often associated with the common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia, and can also affect the gut. The virus that causes COVID-19 is also a coronavirus and likely to have originated from a wildlife reservoir.
Canine coronavirus, which can cause diarrhoea, and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), have been seen by veterinarians for many years. They do not cause infections in humans. These coronaviruses are not associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Can COVID-19 infect pets?
There have been reports from Hong Kong that a dog owned by a patient with COVID-19 has tested positive to the presence of the virus in its nose and mouth. This may be a case of human to animal transmission, however the dog’s first blood tests have been negative. A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in Hong Kong said on Thursday 12 Mar 2020 that:

“The blood test result of the dog which had repeatedly tested weekly positive for COVID-19 virus is negative. The AFCD collected samples from the dog 5 times for tests since late February [2020] and detected low levels of the COVID-19 virus from its nasal and oral cavity samples. A blood sample was also taken from the dog on 3 March 2020 for serological testing and the result is negative. The negative result indicates that there is not a strong immune response and that there are no measurable amounts of antibodies in the blood at this stage.
The negative serological test result does not suggest that the dog has not been infected with the virus. It is known in some asymptomatic or mild cases of human infections with other types of coronavirus that antibodies may not always develop. It is also not uncommon in the earlier stages of infections to have a negative result as it often takes 14 days or more for measurable levels of antibodies to be detected. Another blood sample will be taken later for further testing”.
Source: AVA – 13.3.20 – Update on report of transmission from human to pet dog in Hong Kong

At this stage, there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats are a source of infection to other animals or humans. The veterinary industry including our industry associations are continuing to monitor this situation and will provide our practice with updated information as it becomes available.

Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
As the outbreak continues, a number of pet owners will be placed in quarantine, either with confirmed COVID-19 infection or due to exposure. We know that your pet is part of your family and you will want them to have the same level of protection and care as any other family member. Current information suggests there is no apparent risk to you or your pet from being in quarantine with you. However, we do advise all pet owners continue to practice appropriate hand hygiene before and after handling their pet, their food and washing food/water bowls. At no stage should pet owners do anything that may compromise the welfare of their pets. We suggest minimising close contact with your pet during this time, such as hugging, face to face contact or sleeping on your bed. During self-isolation, you should not be walking your pets in local parks or public areas. During this time, ensure you let your pet outside in your backyard to play and or toilet regularly and if confined to indoors try exercising your pet with a ball or toy.

What do I do if I am in quarantine or self-isolation and my pet is unwell?
If you are in quarantine, do not break quarantine to bring your pet in for a consultation or booked surgical procedures; even if your pet is unwell. Please call our practice first and ask for our advice. If your pet needs to be seen, we will be able to work with you to ensure your pet will receive the care they need, while keeping our practice and staff safe from the COVID-19 infection. For house calls, please let our practice know you are under quarantine before we arrive.

We have been advised by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) that the risk to veterinarians and our practice staff members from contact with pets from clients infected with COVID-19 is low. Infection usually requires prolonged close contact (>15 minutes) with someone who has a high viral load or from extended casual contact (>2 hours).

Animals may have viral fomites on their coat, however the risk of infection is much lower as it will be a low viral load (similar to surfaces).

We therefore will be taking the following precautions:
• When initially handling animals from high risk environments, staff are required to wear gloves, a mask, eye protection and a disposable apron.
• The removal of personal protective equipment (PPE) carefully, taking care not to touch the outside of masks, gowns and gloves.
• Washing of the animal if we are especially concerned, as soap will remove/deactivate the virus. If the animal does not require hospitalisation, or if this will cause undue stress to the animal, or its medical condition we will use PPE as described above. The risk of transmission in such cases is thought to be low.
• Above all and at all times, practice and promote good hand hygiene.
If you have any other concerns about your pet, please feel free to contact our practice accordingly.
What practices is Maroubra Veterinary Hospital and its staff taking during this time?

The primary source of SARS-COV-2 transmission remains human-to-human contact and at this stage there is no evidence that cats and dogs could play a role in the spread of this human disease, or that they become sick having contracted it.  However, it’s a good opportunity to remember all the things we can do to keep ourselves, other practice members, clients and patients safe from diseases.

As a professional veterinary clinic, we always practice excellence in hygiene and cleanliness at all times however it is worthwhile to remind you of the infection, prevention and control practices in place to assure you and your pets:
• Alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is available in dispensers and used throughout the hospital and practice with hand sanitisers in place for client use in waiting rooms
• Liquid antiseptic dispensers used throughout the practice
• Single use only for all anti-bacterial wipes, paper towels, tissues and surgical swabs etc.
• Ongoing environmental cleaning throughout the practice including disinfectant cleaning and alcohol wipe cleaning of floors, surfaces throughout the hospital and in our consult rooms, telephones, benches, sinks, cages, weigh scales, equipment, light switches and door handles, keyboards, EFTPOS terminal etc.
• All consulting equipment and surgical equipment is cleaned and disinfected to the highest standards
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis we have implemented the following practices with our staff which include:
• 14 days’ self-isolation for any clients and staff returning from overseas since the requirement has been introduced by the Government. Currently none of our staff are required to be self-isolating.
• Do not come to work policy if our staff are experiencing flu-like symptoms, particularly coughing or sore throat.
• The practice sneeze and cough etiquette – sneeze or cough into your elbow if necessary and perform hand hygiene after with single use tissues only.
• The introduction of a no shaking hands policy in the practice and social-distancing practice between staff and clients of 1.5 metres wherever possible.
• Use other personal protective equipment as required eg: mask and gloves during consultations.
• Puppy school will continue to operate however we will enforce the groups be 5 or less persons and a one owner per pet policy to attend the classes.
• Signage in our waiting room advising clients that if they are currently in self-isolation and break this to attend the practice with their pet for a consultation that they are to immediately leave the practice and telephone the practice.

If you would like more information or wish to discuss any concerns in relation to the above information provided, please feel free to contact Maroubra Veterinary Hospital on 02 9344 8722.

Leptospirosis Outbreak in Inner Sydney

A warning for our dog owners – veterinarians in the Inner Sydney region have been seeing numerous cases of Leptospirosis in pet dogs over the last 6 weeks. This disease, caused by a bacteria, is not seen very often in suburban Sydney, being more common in rural and semi-rural areas. The reason for the sudden increase in cases in Sydney is not clear, however there is often a surge in cases after periods of high rainfall. It has also been suggested that construction work has displaced populations of rats. Rat urine is the most common source of infection.

Signs of disease can vary greatly. Some dogs die suddenly without showing any obvious signs. More commonly, dogs will develop a high fever, exhibit shivering, muscle tenderness, vomiting and signs of shock. As the disease progresses dogs may develop kidney failure, liver failure, meningitis, heart problems and multiple organ failure. Treatment requires hospitalisation, antibiotic therapy and supportive care. Leptospirosis can have a very high mortality rate.

Of great concern is the fact that Leptospirosis infection can be passed from dogs to people.

There is a vaccine available that is effective against the two most common strains of Leptospirosis. Two injections 3 weeks apart are required to confer protection. We currently have good stocks of the vaccine. If you are concerned we can discuss the vaccine with you and whether you should vaccinate your pet. Cats seem to be much less susceptible to Leptospirosis, and when they do get infected usually only develop a mild illness.