Amid pandemic, veterinarians turn to drive-up service and even telemedicine

Amid pandemic, veterinarians turn to drive-up service and even telemedicine

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Veterinary clinics are turning to online and drive-up options as they continue to treat our beloved furry friends.

Veterinary services are deemed “essential” during the statewide stay-at-home mandate.

At the PetVet Animal Hospital in Salt Lake, people are being asked to park out front and then a veterinary technician comes out from the facility to take in their dog or cat for treatment while they wait outside.

“I think it’s really great that the vets and the techs are helping out, and they’re doing it in a really safe way,” said Nick Cross, who had brought his dog in for shots.

“I want to keep my staff safe, keep them healthy, so we can service our clients,” said Dr. Joy Yasuda, one of the veterinarians at the animal hospital.

Drive-in services are also being offered at the Oahu SPCA in Wahiawa. The precautions are being taken, even though there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by animals.

“I know there was a concern about an animal that tested positive from a nasal swab,” said OSPCA veterinarian Dr. Claire Conrath. “Since then, the CDC have confirmed that we are not seeing disease transmission from human to animals, and that animals are not being infected by the disease as well."

Conrath also said there are also concerns that the virus could stay in an animal’s fur.

“It is very unlikely but we still need to practice good hygiene, especially anytime you handle an animal. Wash you hands, things like that," said Conrath.

She added the drive-in appointments are being done to practice social distancing.

PetVet is keeping all surfaces sanitized and wiped down to keep the virus at bay.

The hospital has also started using a telemedicine service. It’s using a smartphone app that allows users to chat with a veterinarian to determine if the animal actually needs to come in.

The veterinarian can also prescribe medications that can be picked up at the animal hospital.

Yasuda said its important to keep all family members safe and healthy during the pandemic — especially pets.

“All of us are so stressed that I think pets are even more important, now more than ever, to help ease our stress levels, decrease our blood pressure during a time like this.”

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