Pandemic and Pet Parenting: Walking on this path with caution and care
Dr Chandrakanta Chakraborty
The global pandemic has changed the way we live and perceive things. While normal life seems to have altered and most services on a standstill, corona warriors are ensuring that essential services are up and running at all times. Vets are also trying to do the best to ensure your beloved pets are taken care of even in these tough times.
Under the current COVID–19 times how are you managing at your clinic?
During this turmoil of pandemic, my clinic is open with restricted operations, only essential and urgent patients are being dealt with adequate protection measures. I prefer online consultations for optional and non-urgent cases. Proper sanitization is being maintained before and after operational hours at the clinic. Nobody is allowed in the clinic if they aren’t wearing a mask. We also ask people to use sanitizer and maintain proper distance between one another.
Scanning of body temperature of the pet parents at entry is being done and their contact details are kept in an organized way so that if need be it is easy to access.
What are the main concerns of pet parents?
While pet parents are concerned about the corona virus situation, their main aim is to keep their pets healthy. They get really worried about their beloved pets and want to consult a vet without any delay and ensure that pets get the best healthcare facilities.
What are the most common problems with pets that you’ve noticed in the last 3 months?
In last three months pets have suffered from various illnesses and during the temperate period, viral infections were predominating. Canine Parvovirus, canine distemper, feline upper and lower respiratory tract infections were most commonly seen. Presently the problems with parasites, tick fever, skin diseases (dermatitis) and digestive disorders (affecting gastrointestinal tract) have started to appear as the weather is getting hotter by the day.
What differentiates your clinic from others?
I prefer to work at my clinic as a consultant. So my clinic plays a crucial role for taking decisions on specific treatment guidelines and management and thus, helping pet parents. My primary aim is to guide and support pet parents to help them find best solutions. The consultation is based on the situation of their pet, severity of the disease, and what they feel is affordable and feasible. By providing them all options I want that they take the decision for their pets.
My clinic works as an information centre as well as an ideal centre for appropriate therapy and management for their pets. I love to follow advanced and latest procedures for treatment when budget remains within the affordable limit for pet parents.
What are the challenges you’re facing in the current situation?
Challenges in current COVID-19 situation –
Maintaining adequate safety and hygiene on public health while dealing with pets.
No ailing pet should be left untreated or inadequately treated during this threatening period of corona virus pandemic.
What will be your advice to pet parents and the industry on how to deal with this difficult time?
My suggestions to the pet parents and the industry would be –
Don’t ignore the COVID 19 pandemic. Execute all health and safety measures like social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitizing the area to ensure that your clinic is safe and doesn’t become an epicenter of the virus. I recommend pet parents and my staff to wash hands frequently with soap water and use sanitizer. Maintain safety and care for public health.
Pets should be treated delicately and our industry should join hands virtually (in order to regulate and acknowledge social distancing) by working in a synchronised way so that a chain system of treatment facility can be formed to provide essential treatments & services to the pets without any lapse.
What are the precautions that pet parents should follow at home to keep pets happy and healthy?
In this crucial period when we all are restrained at home, pets must be kept with simple rules. Nothing extraordinary should be tried. Whenever possible consult your vet over phone and digital mediums to avoid social gathering. If daily routine for pets is maintained strictly, like timely feeding of meals (with healthy foods), regular grooming, routine de-worming and maintaining their vaccination cycle, and getting enough exercise (through indoor games), I think your pets will feel happy and engaged and also help you sail through this difficult time.
(Dr Chandrakanta Chakraborty, BVSc & AH, MVSc, is a Kolkata-based veterinary consultant, surgeon & radiologist. He has been trained in advanced diagnostic procedures of ultrasounds, digital radiology & EKG.)