by Kimberly Rivers

Ensuring our pets are healthy is essential to our own well being and that could be why veterinary care is listed as an essential activity under the stay-at-home orders issued locally and at the state level. Traveling to and from necessary veterinary appointments is an allowed activity and many veterinary offices are remaining open to meet the demand, while implementing safety protocols to minimize risk of transmission.

 “We are asking clients to wait out in the lobby, taking pets in without the owner to keep the six- foot distance,” said Joann Tambouris, veterinary assistant at Ventura Veterinary Hospital in Ventura. “We are all wearing gloves and masks”

She said that the hospital is busy, but not experiencing a rush on pet medicines or foods. One pet owner opted to wait in her car, “she was scared,” said Tambouris. Staff was happy to collect and deliver her pet, creating a sort of drive-up service. Tambouris also said that the office is trying to limit appointments to nec- essary care only, to reduce traffic in and out.

Matilija Veterinary Hospital in Ojai is also open and last week began limiting the number of people in the waiting room to two, with staff only handling pets. Matilija also put down some colorful tape on the floor in front of the counter with a sign asking people to wait behind it.

Ohana Pet Hospital in Ventura has asked some clients to wear a mask and is providing options for people who might be feeling sick — or even testing positive for the coronavirus — but still needing urgent care. Options include scheduling a dropoff appointment or ask- ing a friend to bring in the pet.
Ohana’s website notes that while there is no evidence of transmission of novel coronavirus between pets and people, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 have someone else take care of their pets. The CDC statement says that if a person tests positive, “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people . . . If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.”

Information online and link to CDC recommendations for pet owners: