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What one AAHA-accredited practice wishes they could tell their clients

2020-4-15 - iStock-1062130136 - Nikki Werner - blog.jpg

During the COVID-19 pandemic, your veterinary healthcare team is trying their best. They are tired, but they are trying their best.

The receptionists are trying their best.

They are asking you new, strange questions like what kind of car you have or can you pay via credit card over the phone. They are hearing your frustration about longer than normal phone holding time. They understand that your dog doesn’t want to wait in the car but keep reassuring you that you are all safest there.

The technicians are trying their best.

They are running pets in and out to your car while still completing treatments, filling medications, and answering calls. They are working with all available personal protective equipment. Right now that means homemade masks and lab coats and disposable gloves that have been washed and sterilized a few times, as our human healthcare colleagues needed our supplies.

They are answering the questions you forgot to ask the receptionist and doctor while they were on the phone. And they are doing everything with a positive attitude because they want to show you they know your pet is important and needs care.

Your veterinarian is trying her best.

She’s been working shifts with a skeleton crew to keep her team members safe. She is seeing your pet without you in the hospital to limit exposure to both your family and her team. She’s communicating with you via phone after every step of your pet’s visit, and she knows your financial situation may be different this week than last, so she’s making treatment plans that are best for your pet while also staying within your means.

Your veterinarian is answering call after call about both essential and nonessential pet healthcare needs. She’s heard your frustration that a call took longer than normal to be returned, and she’s trying her best to get back to everyone as quickly as possible while also treating sick and injured pets.

She is trying to keep you home when feasible by giving medical advice based on pictures and videos, which is challenging and goes against her every principle of the importance of a full physical exam.

She’s had to deliver news about terminal diagnoses over the phone, and when she euthanized a pet earlier today, she had to wear a mask and gloves and stand six feet away. She couldn’t hug the grieving family or stroke the pet’s soft ears for one last time. She’s not sure if that family saw that their pet’s loss hurt her, too, and she understands and feels their grief.

She is tired, but she is trying her best.

Please stay home and stay safe. If your pet needs veterinary care, please be patient and kind when you reach out to your veterinary team.

They are trying their best.

Niki Werner, DVM, is a staff veterinarian at AAHA-accredited VCA Clinton Township Animal Hospital in Clinton Township, Michigan. Werner first posted this April 4 on her Facebook page and kindly allowed NEWStat to repost it here to share with her AAHA colleagues

Photo credit: © iStock/AJ_Watt