Much has changed in our communities and in the world around us since we last sent correspondence to each of you. Our team at Winchelsea Veterinary Services has been incredibly grateful for your patience and assistance as we adapted our routines to the public health recommendations given us by our federal and provincial leaders. This has meant prioritizing critical and emergency care for animals in need and reducing our routine and preventative care services.
Recently, the Infectious Disease Committee at the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association highlighted the importance of maintaining an appropriate vaccine schedule to minimize the risk of spreading easily preventable diseases in horses (and other domestic animals). For example, tetanus in horses, rabies in all domestic animals, and the highly contagious viruses like equine influenza and canine parvovirus.
With the re-opening of the province this month, we feel it is appropriate for us to once again schedule routine preventative care appointments for our patients. We will continue to practice many of the physical distancing and sanitation protocols we have already implemented, and will stand ready to respond to changes in the current COVID-19 situation.
We look forward to once again working with you and your beloved animals for these more routine preventative care appointments!
A lot has changed in our community, and indeed in the world around us, since our previous post. I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our clients for their patience and assistance in adapting to our implemented changes. At this time, the Winchelsea Veterinary Services continues to offer critical and emergent care for animals in need.
Dr. Semper and I woke up this morning to learn that some of our farm- and house- call veterinary colleagues have entered a state of self-quarantine. This, on top of yesterday’s announcement from BC’s Chief Medical Officer that BC is now in a State of Emergency. We recognize that much of what we do as veterinarians is preventative and non-essential – vaccines, dentals, worm control etc. – but every pet owner can attest to those emergencies where a veterinarian was essential.
In response to the events that unfold in front of us, and in keeping with our commitment to serve our community with perseverance and steadfastness, Winchelsea Veterinary Services will implement several new measures to safeguard our client’s health and ensure our capacity to attend to your animal’s health as needed. These measures are as follows:
- Clients with pre-booked routine health appointments will be individually contacted and provided the option to either postpone or proceed with their appointment.
- There is no penalty to postpone
- Appointments that proceed as planned will do so with additional precautions (see below)
- WVS will remain open in order to respond to emergencies and to provide essential prescription medications.
- Additional precautions to be taken include:
- All appointments will be conducted outdoors
- All animals will be handled by a veterinarian and one team member (i.e. one of barn manager, clinic staff, or family member)
- All consultations will occur by phone before (to collect history) and after (to provide findings and discuss treatments) a veterinarian assesses your animal.
- We ask that clients tell us if they have been in contact with a situation that predicates self-quarantine.
- Likewise, we ask that clients inform us if they are immunocompromised in any way.
Regardless of what the following days bring, we are only a phone call away. Please connect with us if you have concerns about your pet’s health or well-being.
Your Winchelsea Veterinary Team
A self-assessment tool, provided by the Government of BC, can be found here:
Additional information on COVID-19, from the public health veterinarian for the BC Centre for Disease Control, can be found at this link:
Dear valued clients,
We are living in unprecedented times. With the world seemingly shifting under our feet on a daily basis, we find ourselves walking an uncertain path between maintaining an optimism that we will all weather COVID-19, and managing the trepidation that someone we know and love will be deeply affected by this virus.
While we face the prospect of increasing isolation brought upon us by restricted travel and self-imposed quarantine, your veterinary team of Dr. Tyler Stitt, Dr. Jessica Semper and Reilly Paugh will continue to find new opportunities and ways to serve our community – our clients and their animals in the Duncan through Port Alberni corridor. We fully anticipate that this will evolve as we learn more about COVID-19, but for now we are looking at offering telemedicine consultation, in-person or phone-call check-ins on vulnerable clients, and supporting any of our veterinary colleagues who become affected by this virus.
We do recognize that our animals will need health care service regardless of how severely COVID-19 impacts our day-to-day lives. With that knowledge, we will continue to offer mobile in-home and on-farm veterinary service for as long as our team remains healthy and capable to do so. In order to safeguard everyone’s health, however, we will begin to implement some basic “healthy practice procedures” for all appointments and client check-ins. We would appreciate your assistance in maintaining these procedures:
- Routine hand sanitization before and after all appointments – i.e. hand washing with soap and water, cleaning with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, wearing disposable gloves.
- Hand-shake greetings will be avoided for the near future.
- We ask that the number of individuals attending an appointment be limited to one owner or handler per patient. We welcome the participation of additional owners via FaceTime or speakerphone.
- Should any client feel “under the weather,” please inform us so that we can arrange for an alternative handler to assist us. Clients can then participate via FaceTime or speakerphone.
- Should any client have a cough, fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher) and/or shortness of breath; or have traveled to an area of active COVID-19 transmission within the previous two weeks; or have had contact with an individual who has travelled overseas in the past two weeks and is now displaying the above-mentioned symptoms, please inform us and we will rebook your appointment for a later date.
- If an animal must receive immediate medical evaluation and the owner is ill, we will look for alternative animal handlers and/or conduct our evaluation of the animal in an outdoor space.
- Telemedicine consultations to reduce client/patient/veterinary contact time may be utilized at any time.
We would encourage you to contact us if you would like to reschedule an appointment, or if you would like to join us in helping our clients and patients weather the uncertainty that is COVID-19. We will endeavour to update this page as our situation changes, so please do check back often.
Your Winchelsea Veterinary Team