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SLO veterinarians treat pets while keeping owners at a distance to avoid coronavirus

Posted at 7:46 AM, Apr 14, 2020

There is no evidence that our pets can contract coronavirus but many Central Coast veterinary offices remain open to care for animals that become injured or sick in other ways.

Clinics like Mission Animal Hospital on South Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo remain open, but in most cases, pet owners can not go inside with their furry friend.

"No one is really coming into the clinic," Mission Animal Hospital Assoc. Veterinarian Sara Fuller said. "We're asking them to meet us from their cars, where we will take their pet from them."

A curbside exchange allows animals to receive care while limiting contact between pet owner and veterinarian.

"We tell them to call us when they arrive in the parking lot and we send staff out to retrieve the pet, do what we need to do, and the pet is returned," Duane Stephens, the owner of Coast Vet Clinic in Morro Bay, said.

Throughout the visit, staff at both Mission Animal Hospital and Coast Vet Clinic maintain a line of communication to ensure pet owners feel at ease.

"Lots of phone call interactions, communication, usually we're calling the client while examining the pet, go over any questions or concerns they have," Fuller said.

In most cases, medications can be easily transferred as well.

"As long as the pet has been seen within the year, we can provide refills, take them out to the car and no one has to come into the lobby," Stephens said.

For man's best friend, a visit to the doggie doctor can be a scary experience, especially when the care providers are wearing masks and the owner can't offer a soothing back rub. But these veterinarians are doing what they can to keep our pets happy and healthy.

"Lots of treats, lots of love, lots of hugs and do what we need to do as quick as possible and get them back out to their owners as quick as we can," Fuller said.

In the event that the pet needs to be euthanized, Mission Animal Hospital will allow the pet owner inside for that difficult final moment.

Make sure to call the office to schedule a visit in advance. With the closures of some animal clinics, the ones that remain open are seeing an increase in appointments.