Coronavirus: What Calgary veterinarians are doing to help pets

A Calgary veterinarian is reassuring pet owners that essential services for their pets will continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will remain open to offer emergent care or anything that can cause pain, distress or a detriment of health to an animal,” said Dr. Lorenza Malaguti, the medical director of the McKnight Veterinary Hospital.

“We are here for you when your pets need care.”

Malaguti said that changes have been made at the hospital in order to protect the animals, staff and owners from contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The McKnight Veterinary Hospital treats small and exotic animals which includes cats, dogs, birds and bunnies.

“We are using a strict closed-door policy,” she said. “Owners are not allowed in the building and we are taking animals from their owners at the door, having them assessed and following up via phone conversation.”

“We are still providing essential care, just limiting elective procedures that can be postponed.”

Similar to some grocery stores, Malaguti said the hospital has also seen people stock piling pet food.

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“Initially, there was quite a bit of panic buying of food, which has improved in the past few days,” she said. “The distributors simply had to catch up with demand, which has also been improving this week.”

Other veterinary clinics are also changing polices in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a March 19 email sent to pet owners, VCA Canada Hospitals — which operates Shawnessy South Animal Hospital — told its clients that it’s implementing and adapting plans and protocols based on the best direction from public health and veterinary authorities.

“Veterinary care is an essential part of our community and we want to assure you that our hospital is open and will continue to provide services at this time,” said Daryl Verbeek, president of VCA Canada Animal Hospitals.

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