Identifying High-Risk Patients: Questions to Ask When Making Appointments5*

Click here for a sample checklist

  • Age of the patient.
  • Vaccination history.
  • Recent history:
    • Has the pet been to a boarding kennel, dog park, day care facility, animal shelter, or other similar venue in the past month?
    • Traveled to another area or country?
    • Are other pets in the household ill?
  • Acute vomiting?
  • Acute diarrhea (defined as three or more loose stools during the past 24 hr) or episodes of bloody diarrhea?
  • Acute coughing?
  • Acute sneezing?
  • Fever (if known)?

If the patient is acutely coughing, sneezing, vomiting, or having diarrhea, ± a fever, the pet should not enter the reception area. Evaluate such animals before entry into the building or immediately transport them to a dedicated examination or isolation room depending on practice policy.

If the hospital records indicate that the pet has a multidrug-resistant infection, the pet should not enter the reception area.

* Patients fitting these criteria should not enter the reception area. Meet owners outside and escort them in via a separate entrance or use a carrier or gurney to transport the pet through the reception area if necessary. Use alternative waiting/examination locations or use of barrier precautions based on the initial risk assessment. Clean and disinfect any waiting or examination locations occupied before using those areas again for other animals.