As we approach a year and a half into the pandemic, we want to thank all of our clients for their continued understanding as we all navigate this world together! We are writing this letter to update everyone on how the clinic is functioning and to explain some of the changes you may have experienced over the past year.
We know the first question on everyone’s mind is when we will be allowing clients back into the clinic. Right now, we are continuing our curbside service for the foreseeable future. On a case-by-case basis at the doctor’s discretion, we will be allowing ONE person to accompany a pet into the exam room, but you will still be waiting in your car both before and after the appointment. Our waiting room will continue to be closed at this time. We will of course continue to do some exams outside and allow you to be present for euthanasia – a policy we have had in place for the entire pandemic. We will also ask that you be masked while you are inside the clinic and interacting with staff, and especially during any time social distancing cannot be adhered to. Please note that if you are going to ask to accompany your pet inside, you will not be able to bring additional family members with you.
As many of you have noticed, our phone lines are extremely busy. We once again ask that if you are calling to update a doctor, request an appointment, to refill food or medications, or for curbside service – please pay attention to the phone prompts. These prompts will direct you to specific phones and personnel in the hospital, and they may not be able to assist you with your issue if the correct prompt is not chosen.
In addition, we ask that you refrain from repeated calls to the hospital – if you left a message for us, unless this is an emergency, we would ask that you give us 24 hours to return your call. Multiple phone calls mean that multiple staff members may be working on the same issue, which prevents them from assisting with anything else. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours then please call again – or you can also consider emailing the clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can always assist you that way.
Our pharmacy line has similarly been inundated with calls and messages, so we are extending our refill time from 24-48 hours – please check your medication levels and plan accordingly for refills. For special order medications that need to be shipped, please plan for at least 2 weeks to fill these medications. We also have an online pharmacy available through our website that you can have medications as well as prescription food mailed directly to your house, and clients can also request refills of medications using our app or the online portal on our website.
THE EMAIL ALTERNATIVE
The clinic email is also a wonderful way that you can send us pictures of things that concern you – small lumps or incisions or videos of behavior you have questions about! These emails help us correctly triage what needs to be seen versus what can wait – and as you have noted, we are booking out weeks in advance for both wellness and technician appointments.
We appreciate your understanding and encourage you to plan on booking wellness visits out as far as possible to ensure your pets can get their vaccines. For sick or injured pets, we have reserved appointments available each day, but we also have drop off appointments available where your pet can be dropped off earlier in the day at your convenience and the doctor that is on surgery that day will evaluate your pet in between their surgeries. This does mean that your pet will likely be spending the day with us, but will be walked, fed, watered and medicated as needed. That being said, there is more demand than there are available appointments, and there are times that we will have to refer you to a local emergency clinic to be seen if our doctors are simply not able to fit another appointment in.
We try to accommodate as many appointments as possible, but all clinics are feeling the strain of an increased number of appointments – we have had local emergency clinics close to incoming emergencies or have 6-8 hour waits on the weekends. These situations are unavoidable and are happening everywhere across the country – we understand that this is a stressful time for everyone, including owners of sick pets. We are doing our best to see what we can during our open hours – and will continue to see same day emergencies, drop offs, and sick appointments when our doctors have the availability. On the weekends when we are not available, there is a chance that local emergency clinics may ask for stable emergencies like ear infections or allergies to wait and see us during the week if they are overwhelmed with serious emergencies. Similarly, during the week we may ask ill but stable pets to wait until openings are available later in the week or utilize the drop off appointments if available.
GOOD NEWS ON THE HORIZON
To ease some of the burden of scheduling appointments, we are very excited to announce that starting in mid-June we will be welcoming Dr. Rita Blanco, a new veterinarian, to the practice! Dr. Blanco has graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and is very interested in internal medicine and is also excited to learn about exotics! A native of New Jersey, she has one horse, 2 cats and 4 goldfish. We know you will all love her, and she is excited to get started seeing appointments!