Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital™ Blog

Garage Improvements

Sat, 05/23/2020 - 11:13 - Carol

With drive-in and drop-off appointments, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are using the Appointment Parking garage more than ever. We thought you might want to know about the improvements we've made since opening the garage. 

We're very pleased with one change in particular -- the displays that let you see the sidewalk and street traffic before exiting the garage.  From within the garage, when you stop your car at the Stop signs, the displays are positioned on each side of the exit at a height which should be comfortable for sadans and SUVs alike. That said, it's not a typical habit to look at the side of the door opening; the habit requires practice to develop. The moving images on the display may help in this regard.

The Stop signs may also help in this regard. To adequately view and evaluate the oncoming traffic on the displays, one must stop at the Stop sign. Getting in the habit now, while the pedestrian traffic and street traffic are low, will have you in the habit when the street traffic returns to normal. 

Under normal conditions, we've noticed the typical street traffic consists of "big waves" of very heavy traffic, punctuated by welcome breaks which are reasonably long with low traffic. This pattern is caused by the traffic lights on the corner. For typical street traffic conditions, it always helps to pack one's patience. While you're stopped and checking the display, you can also admire the refreshed paint on the curb. Parking cars should be able to see the different zones better, and behave accordingly. If they do, they won't park too close, and it will continue to give you a good line of sight once you have moved past the traffic displays.


If you haven't been in the garage lately, you may not have seen the lovely waiting bench. If you are bringing in a dog, you'll notice the hospital dog leads hanging on the walls. We always request you add one of those, along with your own leash. It's a "belt-and-suspenders" approach, to go along with the other classic wisdom: "stop, look and listen."
 

 

 

 

Earthquake Prep in a COVID World

Fri, 04/24/2020 - 10:41 - Carol

The recent anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire came and went without the traditional gathering at Lotta's Fountain. Typically, the gathering reminds us about being prepared for the next earthquake. Also, typically, this time of year, we support the Pet Ready! event at Foothill, which is obviously not happening. This is not a typical year.

It's a year when emergency preparedness takes on a slightly new twist. We firmly believe in emergency preparedness, and advocate for including all pets in emergency preparedness. They are family members, after all, yet they have unique needs beyond just a headcount. 

Our hope is that everyone has stashed away everything on our Pet Ready! checklist. The links on the checklist go to the blog post on that specific topic, which contains additional useful information. For example, why you don't store plastic water bottles on a cement garage floor. If you have time, reading the blog posts which interest you, can be super helpful.

The most important thing is gathering the items on the checklist. If you have your kit assembled already, it's a good time to rotate or refresh the stock, such as extra meds and food. The Pet Ready! checklist wants you to include an Info Sheet, which says whether your pet is up to date with their vaccinations, etc. You'll want to review that information.

Here's the new twist. While you're updating the Info Sheet, you may want to also create a brief plan for your pet's care in an emergency. The plan would include: feeding schedule, medicine schedule (or medical condition and treatment instructions), and veterinarian's name and contact information. To match the regular Info Sheet, clearly label it with names (yours and the animal's) and your contact info, but add a couple of family contacts authorized to know your medical status, and at least one temporary caregiver for your pet. If you sign it and send it to us, we'll include it in your pet's record, so your temporary caregiver can act as your agent in requesting veterinary care.

This idea is new, coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, but the plan would apply to any emergency. Honestly, this info could have been part of the Pet Ready! documentation all along, but we didn't think of it until the pandemic brought the new perspective to light. We have the most incredible animal shelters right here in the Bay Area, but the point is to keep your pet out of them. 

It's a two-fer. Good for the current situation, and good for emergency preparedness generally. You know the old saying: "better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it." 

 

 

 

COVID-19: "Stay," Said the Dog

Sun, 04/12/2020 - 14:12 - Carol

We have the best clients in the world! Here goes your proof:

It's impossible to put into words, how much this means to us. We're not immune to the increased anxiety and stress caused by this pandemic, which is hard on everyone. As an essential service, we want to stay open, and be there for the community. This gesture has put wind beneath our wings, encouraged us, and we greatly appreciate it.

COVID-19: The Latest on Felines

Thu, 04/09/2020 - 14:20 - Carol

The latest information about animals and the virus that causes COVID-19 included a bit of news from the Bronx Zoo, which caused anxiety to go back up amongst a few pet owners. We looked into it and assure you that you can let any anxiety dissipate with a proper game plan.

Last weekend, a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. The tiger had picked it up from her handler before the handler was showing symptoms. If you’re concerned that a tiger was tested when many people have not been, it is because the tiger’s sample was tested by diagnostic veterinary lab with a validated (PCR) test for animals, not humans.  

The Bronx Zoo tiger story also caused people to wonder anew if animals can get it from humans, and whether humans can get it from their animals. The short answer there is still "no evidence to suggest concern." We're following a ton of studies, as you might imagine. We're even following anecdotal stories. Considering this pandemic is moving quickly, it stands to reason that if there was a common correlation, the anecdotal data might be coming in more quickly. Experts agree that if animals were spreading the Novel Coronavirus, by now they would be seeing more evidence of it. 

One of our favorite experts to follow is Dr. Jane Sykes, an internal medicine specialist with special interest in infectious diseases, and no less than the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer of the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Dr. Sykes studies infectious diseases of dogs and cats at UC Davis. In one Huffington Post article about a potentially infected cat in Belgium, she explained 'that cats and ferrets were able to contract the similar virus that caused the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. But there was no evidence of cats transmitting that virus to humans. (She also noted that ferrets became much sicker from the virus than cats did.)'

In media interview after media interview, Dr. Sykes regularly gives a lot of the same common sense advice that we do. Wash your hands before and after playing with your pets. If your cat is sneezing, give us a call. Upper respiratory infections are common in cats and rarely need hospitalization, but we want to be sure. Isolate them in their own room, if possible, until the sneezing stops, and don't let them outside, just in case. Wash surfaces frequently, including those surfaces involved in the care and feeding of your pets. If you're symptomatic with COVID-19, isolate yourself from other people in your house and your animals, just in case. If you're sick, have another member of your household take care of your pets, or wear a mask. It just makes sense. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has committed to looking more in depth at the the role of pets. In a press conference this week, we noticed their current stated position matches ours precisely. Of course, we will continue to follow the WHO and other experts, and let you know about any notable updates. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

COVID-19: Virus Spread and Your Pets

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 17:58 - Carol

People are asking us if pets can get the virus that causes COVID-19. The question really breaks down into two parts: "can our pets get it from us" and "can we get it from our pets?" The gist is whether one can put their pet at risk, or whether a pet can become a spreader?

Medicine is often about consensus. Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital is a member of the Amercan Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) who have joined the preliminary consensus, based on the available information. AVMA states on their COVID-19 page: "Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people."

As such, we encourage normal interaction with your pets, unless you yourself are sick. Ours is a belt-and-suspenders approach to advising, out of an extreme abundance of caution, until more is known about this pandemic. The logic behind avoiding your animal if you are sick is to avoid creating a situation where one could cough or sneeze on the animal directly. 

With multiple people in a household, the CDC recommends that symptomatic family members avoid contact with animals whenever possible, adding "If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them"

When we need to run laboratory testing, the company we partner with is a world leader, as you might expect. The company, IDEXX, has labs all over the world. When we draw samples to be tested, we always send enough fluids to run the test, to run it again if needed, and a little extra. Everyone follows this standard procedure.

During their research work to validate a new veterinary test system for COVID-19, IDEXX evaluated thousands of canine and feline specimens, and found "no positive results in pets to date of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus strain responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) respiratory outbreak in humans."

None in dogs. None in cats. It seems like our advice to hand-off the care of your cat or dog to a family member if you get sick is potentially overkill, but we'd prefer to err on the side of caution. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also echoes our advice to avoid pets if you are sick. If it's too late, and if you can manage it, bathing the pet should reduce the risk to others.

If you are not sick, the scientific community has given you one less worry in that COVID-19 is spread between humans and not to, or from, our companion animals. This is good news if you need to bring your animal in for care. While people exercise social distancing of 6' between ourselves, you can cuddle and interact with your animal as normal. This is particularly good news at a time when we need to cuddle our companions, get out and take more walks, and generally find comfort where we can. Stay healthy.

COVID-19: General Update

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 17:15 - Carol

Thank you for all of the well wishes for our doctor's speedy recovery. The deluge into our inbox of all the warm wishes has been heartening.

A quick update from here. By close of business yesterday, we completed all of the calls to anyone who had potentially been in contact with her (defined as "within 6 feet" of proximity) even before she had any symptoms. Since she had only been in the animal hospital once, more than a week ago, there weren't many to notify. Her last day in started the 14-day count, which concludes on March 29th, and then we will re-open with appropriate social distancing. 

The only other people being called are those who need to be rescheduled. We are also closing at 5pm during this week. The disinfection procedures that we initially heightened many weeks ago are being continued, as are additional deep cleaning procedures. As medical professionals, we default to over-sanitizing and that's just fine.

In speaking to our doctor today, she continues to improve and greatly appreciates all of the thoughts and prayers. She asked us to thank you, ergo this update. Thank you. We also appreciate the flexibility in rescheduling the appointments for this week by those who were affected by our semi-closure. We also appreciate those who have held off on non-urgent calls -- a couple more days ought to do it. Most everybody has been gracious, which is very much appreciated. 

We are blessed with such a tremendously supportive, smart and loving community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those far more impacted in our community. We know these are trying times. We know people are stressed out. It's the graciousness in the face of all that stress we appreciate, and remember.

We have the best clients in the world. They have proven it once again. Thank you so much for all the well wishes and support.

 

 

 

 

COVID-19: Food, Pharmacy and Phone Open; Hospital Temporarily Closing to In-person Operations

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 18:08 - Carol

Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital is temporarily closing the hospital to in-person visits for one week, while maintaining availability for phone questions, pharmacy and prescription diet operations.

Until testing is more widely available, out of an abundance of caution, we are closing our doors through March 29th, for any in-person appointments and procedures. We will have receptionists and technicians on the premises to take phone calls, field medical questions, and staff the pharmacy and prescription diet orders using extreme social distancing (hands-free). RVTs will answer medical questions in consultation with doctors. During this period, we will rigorously disinfect the entire hospital (again).

Last Monday, one of our doctors was in the hospital working. A day or two later she began to feel under the weather. She immediately began a self-quarantine at home. She is already feeling better, but did receive positive test results for COVID-19 today. Anyone who had potentially been in contact with her (defined as "within 6 feet" of proximity) during the last 2 weeks, will be contacted directly today and asked to quarantine for two weeks. 

Short of wider availability of testing, we believe this is the only prudent course of action. We apologize for any inconvenience. We will keep you posted.

 

COVID-19: Course Correction on Drive-in/Drop-off

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 09:05 - Carol

What a difference a day or so makes! We're making a slight adjustment to our process for Drive-in and Drop-off appointments. If you are coming in for an appointment, please read this carefully.

Our focus is continuing to provide the essential services of healthcare for the pets in your family, while complying with the 6' social distancing model to protect everyone, including our dedicated staff. When we had the original discussion about going to a Drop-off and Drive-in appointment process, personnel at all levels were consulted and weighed in on the decision. But we forgot to consult with the animals.

Apparently, animals are used to their owners securing them and taking them out of the car. Many of them are demonstrably displeased with someone coming up to the car and doing it for the owners. They have now put in their two cents.

New-and-improved Process
When you come in for your appointment, please secure your animals. We have hospital leads hanging from the garage walls and request you add one of those, along with your own leash. Call us to let us know you are here, staying in your vehicle. After a brief wait to make sure the path is clear, we will let you know when to bring them into one of two doors.

We are using the door labeled "Enter" to receive dogs, and the door labeled "Exit" to receive cats. You will notice the paper signs designating "dog" and "cat" posted on the door itself.

Here's what they look like:

If you usually park on the street and come in through the front door, you may want to come into the garage instead, then call us to receive your animal at the appropriate dog or cat door.

Thank you for your understanding as we modify our process. We've never done this before. While Drop-off appointments are not new, traditionally they had been brought inside to check in. Now, we are asking you to secure your animal, call us and bring them through the applicable door.

Thanks, and stay healthy!

COVID-19: Responding to Shelter-in-Place Order

Tue, 03/17/2020 - 17:19 - Carol

As we all shelter in place to reduce the community spread of COVID-19 or the Novel Coronavirus, we'd like to share with you how we are further modifying our processes to comply with the order while protecting our staff, you and your pet. 

The shelter-in-place order allows for conducting essential services related to healthcare for you and your family; this includes your pets. To be clear, the order specifies that your pets are part of your family, and specifies the inclusion of veterinary services. 

Of course, we all need to practice appropriate social distancing. We have decided to conduct our Doctor's appointments on a drive-in or drop-off basis. Any exceptions prove the rule. In addition, we are conducting technician appointments on a drive-in basis. 

The drive-in appointment option is new to facilitate social distancing by reducing the number of people who enter the hospital. Basically, you come by appointment to the garage. When you arrive, call us and our staff will come to your car to get the animal. The doctor will speak to you by phone, do their exam and then we'll bring the pet back to your car.

Drop-off appointments are not new. They are always offered to accommodate busy schedules. Sometimes considerable time is required to perform a test or do a procedure, and clients prefer to leave and return later the same day, rather than wait.

By conducting appointments this way, our veterinarians and staff are maximizing the social distancing principle, and hopefully maximizing our ability to remain available to serve the community's animals during this unique time. The fact is we are operating with a reduced staff due to school closures and this shelter-in-place order. We appreciate your patience and cooperation in scheduling non-essential appointments for a month out. At the same time, we also encourage you to reach out to us so we can make sure that all of your pet's needs are met.

In compliance with the order, we are scheduling annual exams and non-essential services that can wait approximately one month out. Rabies vaccines, plus puppy and kitten vaccination schedules, are time sensitive and essential. Non-rabies annual boosters, however, are being scheduled for one month out. Please reach out to us with questions or to discuss your particular case.

If you need to come in to pick up supplies, we'd love it if you called ahead so we can get it ready for you. Let us know when you get here and we can bring it out to your car.

Again, if you have symptoms, concerns or just want to protect yourself, please don't come in. Instead, call us to discuss how we can take care of your pet. We can schedule a telephone consult with the doctor and make a plan. Social distance doesn't mean going it alone. Reach out to us. Working together we will all get through this.

COVID-19: Coronavirus Update

Sun, 03/15/2020 - 17:46 - Carol

As we all do our part in reducing the community spread of COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus, we'd like to share with you how we are protecting you and your pet. 

At this point, we are currently staying open, to take care of the community's animals, with some process modifications to maintain social distancing and address extra disinfection. The modifications that affect you are described below. We are executing our sanitization procedures more frequently, plus disinfecting each exam room between each patient visit. 

If you or anyone in your family have a fever or cough, please stay home until testing is widely available

For anyone coming in, when you arrive, please stop at the hand-washing station in our reception area. Washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds is recommended. We've also placed boxes of tissues around the hospital for your use.  

If you are planning to hunker down and follow the social distancing recommendations by staying home, remember the provisions you need include your animal's prescriptions and food. Don't stress out if you forget something. We can work with you to get you the supplies that you need.

If you have symptoms, concerns or just want to protect yourself, please don't come in. Instead, call us to discuss how we can take care of your pet. We can schedule a telephone or video consult with the doctor and make a plan. 

In addition, we are scheduling drive-in technician appointments where you park in our garage, and call to let us know you are here. This is particularly well suited for clinic appointments. We will come out and take your pet inside for the test or treatment, while you wait in the car. For some, this method will optimize our ability to take care of your animal directly while keeping you the most socially distanced possible. You can wait in your car or come back later. 

This is similar to our drop-off appointment option for doctor exams. Drop-off appointments are not new. They are always offered to accommodate busy schedules.

Also, remember, we offer pet taxi service and now may be the time you want to use it. We ask you to please stay home while you have a cough or fever. If you are sick or symptomatic, please let us know so that we can take appropriate precautions for our staff. 

During this whole COVID-19 pandemic, social distance doesn't mean going it alone. Reach out to us. Working together we will all get through this.