Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Visiting the Veterinarian With COVID-19 Restrictions

It's difficult enough taking your cat to the veterinarian for a normal routine (or illness) visit but when you need to take your cat to the vet during the COVID-19 scare and isolation, the stress level is compounded. 

Truffle and Brulee have been very healthy this past year and only needed to go to the vet for wellness visits. This morning, I woke up to Truffle squinting and draining from her left eye.
Truffle's left eye was semi closed and draining

Truffle's Eye

Persian cats tend to have eye drainage because of their brachycephalic faces with can cause eye stains on the fur. Brulee has a flatter face and tends to have eye drainage on a daily basis. Truffle doesn't usually have much eye drainage unless she has a herpes flare up. Truffle had an ulcer on her right eye about 3 years ago which took about 2-3 weeks to heal. Ever since this ulcer, her right eye does tend to flare up at times and drain. I keep a box of Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment at home when these flareups occur. This morning, I noticed she was squinting with her right eye and there was some drainage. I wiped her eye and put a couple of drops of liquid tears in her eye. A few minutes later, her eye lids were stuck together and I noticed some inflammation. I knew she needed to be seen by a veterinarian to rule out a scratch or ulcer.

COVID-19 Restrictions

I knew there were some restrictions on taking pets to the veterinarian because of the email I received on March 16, 2020.
Email from Cherokee Trail Veterinary Hospital

I was on self-quarantine at the time because I had been sick and was tested for COVID-19. Thankfully, my test was negative, but I've tried to stay at home away from people because I have asthma and am immune-compromised. I anxiously dialed the phone number for the veterinarian. I explained what was happening with Truffle. They told me that Dr. Macaulay could see Truffle within about 1 1/2 hours. They informed me that I would need to pull up outside the hospital and call them when I arrived. They said someone would come out to the car to pick up Truffle to take her inside and that Dr. Macaulay would call me on the telephone to discuss Truffle's diagnosis. I believe this is the first time Dr. Macaulay has ever seen one of my girls, but I've talked with her many times in the past about the veterinary hospital and test results for my cats. 

Our governor issued a mandatory "stay-at-home" order this week, so Cherokee Trail Veterinary Hospital changed the procedures.

"Covid-19 Update - Due to Executive Orders issued by Governor McMaster as well as recent federal recommendations regarding social distancing, CTVH will be limiting entry to our hospital and lobby. ​For Curbside Check-In, Please Call (803) 359-6611. Upon arrival, please call the above number and one of our staff members will come to greet you and retrieve your pet. All triaging, treatment plans, consent, payments, and discharges will be discussed over the phone to limit interactions. We Appreciate Your Cooperation and Understanding​."

Mom Paula wearing her mask while waiting for the veterinary assistant to pick up Truffle curbside

Curbside Veterinary Visit

I arrived at the veterinary hospital about 10 minutes prior the scheduled appointment time. I usually leave early because of heavy traffic on the road leading to the vet. I temporarily forgot that traffic should be lighter because of the Governor's order. There were a few cars in the parking lot already and I noticed most of the people in the cars were wearing a mask. I took my mask with me to use when I had to chat with the veterinary assistant or veterinarian. I must admit, I was a little anxious with the situation because I like to be in the examination room, face-to-face, with the veterinarian as he examines one of my cats. I waited about 15 minutes for someone to come and get Truffle. The vet assistant was wearing a mask, but no gloves. She picked up Truffle from the passenger side after getting basic information from me. While I was waiting to hear from Dr. Macaulay, I noticed several pets being picked up and/or delivered back to the cars. I even saw Dr. Macaulay coming out with a dog to talk to the owners.

Veterinary assistant retrieving Truffle from car

I waited in the car for a phone call from Dr. Macaulay about Truffle's eye. After about 20 minutes, a veterinary assistant came out with Truffle and told me that Dr. Macaulay would be out in a few minutes to talk to me. I became anxious, thinking that something must be wrong because the veterinarian was coming to the car to talk with me. Thankfully, my worry was for naught! Dr. Macaulay said she stained Truffle's eye and saw no evidence of a scratch or ulcer. She also checked to make sure there were no eyelashes or fur that had turned in to the eye. She did notice a little bit of inflammation on the 3rd eyelid, but nothing to be really concerned about. Dr. Macaulay said she believed Truffle was having a herpes flare up in her right eye and that treatment with the Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment should help it clear up in a few days. She said if the eye didn't get any better or if it got worse after 3 days, to bring her back in for further examination. I noticed on Truffle's chart that she had gained a few ounces. I guess she isn't the only one snacking a little more since we've been stuck in our home for 3 weeks.

Dr. Macaulay discussing Truffle's diagnosis

It took me about 10 minutes to drive home and Truffle was quiet during the trip, which is unusual for her. Who knows - maybe visiting the veterinarian without me is less stress for her...

Once we got home, I sanitized the door handles, steering wheel, door knob, and Sleepypod carrier. I used hand sanitizer and washed my hands. Truffle and Brulee were fed and I put the Erythromycin Ophthalmic Ointment in Truffle's eye. Truffle isn't squinting as back, but her eye is still draining, which will probably occur for a few days until this flareup has passed. I then submitted the bill for the examination to Trupanion Pet Insurance for reimbursement. I should get most of the money I spent back from Trupanion, so that will help during this difficult financial time.

Comforting Truffle in the car waiting for the veterinarian

I'm so thankful that veterinary hospitals are considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though a face-to-face visit with the veterinarian during the examination wasn't possible, I am blessed that our veterinary hospital has taken the necessary measures to examine our pets in a timely and safe manner for both the humans and pets. Hopefully, Truffle's eye will clear up in a few days and she'll be back to her "trouble Truffle" self. 

If you need to take your pet to the veterinarian during the "stay-at-home" orders, be sure to call to verify if they are seeing pets and what their procedures are for safety. 

We wish everyone excellent health, both physically and emotionally, during these trying times.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I'm sure glad her eye wasn't scratched or had an ulcer. Yes, lot's sure is different. I had to get Brian his regular meds, even that was different. I paid via phone and they hug it outside in a pick up area for me. I'm glad they are still at work too though. Stay safe, healthy and virus-free.

  2. I am glad you were able to get vet care for Truffle. Most vets in my area have the same protocol right now. I am thankful mine is still running the same because I find it too stressful to not be with my pet for the exam.

  3. We are so glad Truffle checked out okay. We had to take Gracie in for some tests last week, and it was much the same experience as you had. Happily, she, too, is doing well (at nealry 20 years old)! Stay safe, and be well.

  4. My human is dreading having to take either me or Boodie to the vet while everyone is isolating! Of course, it that needs to happen, she will be there immediately with us, but hopefully by the time we need checkups, things will be a little freer.

  5. I am so glad you posted this visit. we have received the first letter you got and the second about curbside. now I know what to expect and am hoping we will not find out... Big Boy only goes once a year, but we all know murphys law likes to mess with us. glad it was nothing that you have not dealth with before. hope the eye heals quickly. since I have been following more blogs with cats I have learned a lot about having them. I always thought it would be easier to have cats than dogs. I found out it is not.

  6. Your visit was exactly like ours! I am grateful for the staff for helping the cats, but keeping themselves safe at the same time.

  7. We're glad Truffle is doing ok. Our vet is also still seeing patients in much the same manner, and Animal Medical Center is still open. Lexy would not do good at all without Mommy in the room. It's so scary! Mommy's friend had to take her cat for dental and she couldn't go in. We'll be glad when things go back to normal.

  8. We are glad all went ok for you and Truffle. Vets around here (NE Ohio) are following the same procedures. Stay safe and well.

  9. Ams very glad Truffle will be ok and I am glad you are both safe and well. ((hugs))

    Rose the adult kitten

  10. Interesting experience. So many different ways we are doing things now. We hope her eye gets better soon.

    The Florida Furkids

  11. Bella and her health are among my concerns during this pandemic shutdown. She will only allow me and my husband to lead her on leash. Without a doubt, I know she would not leave the car at the vet without me, even though she knows most of the staff at our vet. Luckily, her checkup was a couple weeks before they went to curbside car and her results all came back great. Glad you and Truffle had a good experience.

  12. Who would have ever thought we'd have curbside vet visits? I had to take my little old lady in with a urinary tract infection and despite the curbside drop off and pick up, the care she received was as purrfect as always.

  13. Things sure got complicated with this pandemic. Our vet too takes measures to keep everybody safe. We even do curbside pick-up when getting dog food.

  14. I have been battling to get an appointment for Layla for over 3 weeks and we finally have one tomorrow afternoon, with her vet, they told me I must bring my phone so that I can chat with the vet inside when they check her. It is not what I would want but am grateful they doing it as she is going on 13, suddenly chewing on herself and am concerned so will be able to relax afterwards. Stay Safe

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  16. Mom and I are so-o relieved that you didn't test positive for the virus and that Truffle was able to be seen by the V-E-T. My V-E-T hasn't been letting humans take their pets in the clinic at all since mid-March. So when the doggy and I had our "dental cleanings", the V-E-T tech came out to get us from the car. It will be like that also on Monday, when we have to go back for our followup visit. Mom says, "I appreciate that our clinic is being so proactive and taking measures to ensure the healthy safety of its clients and staff. Knock on wood there is only a small number of COVID-19 cases in our county to-date."

  17. I can imagine how stressful that was, and I hope Truffle's eye is better now.
    These are very strange times. We are trying to obtain flea and tick and heartworm meds, to no avail. I hope things are back to normal before we have to start going for our vaccinations/checkups. If not, they will be postponed.

  18. I remember Bear's first flare up. We'd only had him for a few months and his eye went from fine to swollen shut in a matter of hours. For the first couple years of his life, he had flare ups every couple months - and I had an extra tube of ointment at home just for that - but all of a sudden they just stopped. Within the last year or so, he's had a day here and there with more drainage than usual - but by the next day, it's gone. I'm glad Truffle's okay. I've been thinking about you a lot and wondering how you are.

  19. We are with you in loving vets and appreciating vets and their continued support. You were blessed to have such wonderful care and Truffle is blessed with the best of Mums in you.

    Stressful maybe but you are now safe and home. Stay Well all of you (that's an order from Harvey who will be packing a bag for the next flight over if you misbehave!)

    Marjorie (with Harvey looking over her shoulder).

  20. I hope Truffle's eye improves quickly! It sounds like the vet is taking all the proper precautions. I need to get Theo's nails cut (it requires 2 vet techs), and I'm hoping that the vet is open for that procedure. I can cut Nelly's and Sophie's at home, but Theo needs special attention.

  21. We received a similar message from our vet. They said to call from the parking lot. We don't have a cell phone, so TBT knocks on the door and backs away leaving us in the the PTU at the door.

    When Iza was sent to go over The Bridge, he was allowed in with a mask to be there. But that was an exception.


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