Dr. Adrian Walton of the Dewdney Animal Hospital in Maple Ridge wants to remind pet owners to have a plan for their animals in case they are hospitalized. (Contributed)

Dr. Adrian Walton of the Dewdney Animal Hospital in Maple Ridge wants to remind pet owners to have a plan for their animals in case they are hospitalized. (Contributed)

B.C. veterinarian says plan ahead for care of pets with spread of COVID-19

Dr. Adrian Walton says there are ways to prepare in case veterinarian clinics have to shut down

A Maple Ridge veterinarian is reminding pet owners to find someone to take care of their pets in case they become hospitalized due to COVID-19

If a person is put into quarantine, their animals will be quarantined with them, said Dr. Adrian Walton with the Dewdney Animal Hospital.

However, if that person has to go to the hospital, neither the SPCA nor the local veterinarian clinics will be able to take them, he said.

“Because we don’t know if they can transmit the virus or not,” said Walton.

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The receptors that the COVID-19 virus can adhere to can be found in both human and non-human primates, along with some dogs, cats and ferrets, however, noted Dr. Walton, veterinarians only suspect that they are not able to transmit it to their owners. They don’t know for sure.

One dog tested positive for the virus in Hong Kong and it was discovered after multiple swabs of the animal every two days, that the virus is able to live in them.

But, because they don’t show any clinical signs Dr. Walton says that experts do not think they are contagious.

“In other words, they carry it but they don’t spread it,” said Dr. Walton.

Walton has already been fielding questions from people who are concerned about their animals, so he has some recommendations for pet owners.

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The first thing is to talk to your veterinarian about getting extra medications for your animal. He suggests to have enough for about three weeks to a month.

“If you get hospitalized it’s going to be hard for your pet to get medication,” said Walton.

And, he said, if the situation gets bad enough, he is not sure veterinarian clinics will be open.

Chances are, he said, they will be considered an essential medical service.

“But there’s no proof of that yet,” he said.

At this point in time his clinic’s shelves are still stocked with pet food. And when it comes to other supplies he is just keeping an eye on things right now.

“We’re not ordering more than we need. But, if necessary, Dewdney Animal Hospital will shut down elective surgeries,” said Dr. Walton, adding that if things get really bad, they will figure out some way to make sure their clients have some way of accessing them, whether it be by Face Time or some other way.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

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