Update: September 23rd
Alert: Veterinarian Staffing Situation
First and foremost, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our loyal clients for showing patience and kindness in what has proven to be a very difficult year. Part of our mission at Creston Veterinary Hospital (CVH) is to meet the needs of our community for veterinary services. Many adjustments have been made over the months to cover COVID protocols, and we have introduced many innovations to mitigate problems and maintain efficiency. Home delivery, a new call direction system, and a dedicated Reception Assistant to manage the outdoor waiting area have all been helpful. Additionally, we will be adding an online VetStore to our arsenal shortly. Saturday closures were also instituted during the lockdown to rest our overtaxed staff, and we will continue to honour this schedule until further notice.
Creston Veterinary Hospital has seen considerable growth over the last 5-years. Before the COVID–19 Pandemic, we were actively seeking veterinarians to meet our workload and continued expansion. We identified that the equivalent of 4 full-time veterinarians was required to support these goals. We had 2 ½. Of those, only two vets were able to cover out-of-hours emergencies. During the lockdown, we were able to cope and even help clients of other veterinary clinics that were closed or unavailable. In March, the US-Canada border closed and in June, the large animal practice in Nelson closed. These events have put even more pressure on our already overtaxed practice.
During the summer, we were able to secure a locum (fill in vet), Dr Wendy Royle, who was able to see small animals and cover small animal emergencies, so that removed some strain. However, the temporary nature of locum vets means that she has moved on for the fall and winter. Now, with Dr Julie Gailius moving to a new opportunity, that leaves one veterinarian, Dr Robert McLeod, to see out-of-hours emergencies. COVID–19 protocols have decreased the efficiency with which we were able to see patients at all times of the day, and while we have made several adjustments to improve that situation, it is still a work in progress. Thankfully, our marvelous group of Registered Veterinary Technologists and support staff has been able to step up and help us maintain the excellent level of service our clients have become accustomed to. Additionally, Dr Julia Kaczkowski is continuing to work 3-days per week, and we are thankful she has elected to stay in Creston and contribute to our team. Dr Gailius has also expressed an interest in doing some locum days over the winter, and that will also be very helpful.
We are currently making all efforts to enlist further veterinarians (over the last two years, this has become a full-time job for our Recruitment Coordinator). We have hired a new graduate (scheduled to start next year), and we are working on finding locum vets and experienced veterinarians to bolster our ranks. In the meantime, we will need to make some adjustments to our services. With only one vet to provide it; 24-hour emergency service can no longer be guaranteed. We will do our best to provide these services as much as possible, but there will be times when we will have to refer emergencies to centres with more veterinarians. Most times, we will have a technician available to triage your case, but even this may not always be possible.
Loyal Long-term CVH clients: You are our number one priority, and we will do all in our power to make sure you get the service to which you have become accustomed. We will be making all efforts to make sure both your routine and emergency veterinary needs are met. Unfortunately, we may not always be able to provide you with 24-hour emergency service, but we will do our best to be as available as possible.
New to Creston Clients: Those of you who have just moved here or are new to the CVH and do not have a regular service veterinarian are welcome. We will do our best to accommodate you along with our Loyal Long-term clients.
Clients of US clinics who cannot cross the border: Many of you have indicated that you would like to continue to use our services after the border has opened. If this is the case, please let our receptionists know, and they will change your status on our computer. However, please note that the two above groups will continue to take priority.
As a courtesy to our veterinary colleagues to the south and concern for your animals, we have been doing our best to fill your pets’ prescriptions and see you when you are in need. We will continue to do so when we are able; however, we will be prioritizing the needs of our Loyal, Long-term clients first, so please ensure to make your requests well in advance of your needs. Similarly, we will see your emergencies or urgent appointments if we have space available, but please be prepared to travel out of town as this cannot be guaranteed.
Abusive Clients: As always, we are happy to hear any clients’ concerns and actively use feedback to improve our service to the community. We encourage positive suggestions and open conversations; however, we have a zero-tolerance policy for abusive behaviour. Abuse includes swearing, yelling, any forceful physical contact, electronic abuse, or failure to make adequate financial arrangements. We reserve the right to determine if we feel the behaviour is abusive as we cannot make an all-inclusive list. As such, any form of abusive behaviour will mean immediate barring from further service at Creston Veterinary Hospital. Fortunately, this applies to a small minority of our interactions with Creston residents, but it is a matter we take very seriously.
Again, we thank all our loyal clients for their ongoing support, kindness, and encouragement this year. If compelled to do so, please contact Creston Veterinary Hospital directly with your comments, questions, or concerns at 250-428-9494 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: August 28th
Due to the increased level of risk that is occurring throughout BC and the impending school openings that may increase the risk even further, Creston Veterinary Hospital will require that ALL staff and clientele wear a mask where social distancing is not possible. We request your increased vigilance to ensure that our staff remains healthy as the cold and flu season approaches, as even a low-risk illness could result in the curtailing of our veterinary services or complete closure. As of September 1, 2020, please bring your own mask to all veterinary appointments. In the event that you do not have one, a disposable mask will be provided.
As always, thank you for your compassion, understanding, and flexibility during these unprecedented times.
Update: April 12th
You’ve probably heard of the tiger testing positive for the virus in New York, but it is important to remember that there is currently little to no evidence that pets or other domestic animals that are naturally exposed to SARS-CoV-2 become sick with COVID-19 or spread the virus to other domestic animals, and no evidence that they can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to people. Accordingly, there is no reason to remove pets from homes even if COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household unless there is risk that the pet itself is not able to be cared for appropriately.
Animal owners without symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to practice good hygiene during interactions with animals. This includes washing hands before and after such interactions or handling animal food, waste, or supplies.
Out of an abundance of caution, those ill with COVID-19 should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. Have another member of your household or business take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any animals, including pets. If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, including pets, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them, and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
Visit the AVMA’s website to stay up to date on COVID-19 and your pets: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19/sars-cov-2-animals-including-pets
Update: March 30, 2020
First and foremost, Creston Veterinary Hospital would like to extend our most profound appreciation to our fabulous clients and the entire community for their continued patience, kindness, and understanding while we navigate our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 💞
We realize that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone. Many of us are adapting our lives to deal with the changes the pandemic is having on our home, school, and work-places, leaving us feeling anxious and stressed. 😳
Sadly, our staff seem to be experiencing an increasing amount of abuse in the last few weeks. There is no doubt that the Coronavirus is creating challenges for all of us, personally and professionally; however, Creston Veterinary Hospital resolves to honour each other with respectful and supportive conversations during these unprecedented times.
Creston Veterinary Hospital is committed to providing a respectful workplace environment. We have a zero-tolerance approach to harassment of any kind, which includes behaviour that threatens, humiliates, or victimizes our staff; verbally, physically or electronically. This includes employees, clients, and members of the public.
Any individual or party who refuses to comply may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate and permanent dismissal.
Please note, we want to be the very best stewards of our patients; however, the health and wellbeing of our staff and clientele remain our top priority. And, it is absolutely essential for our team members to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, in order for us to provide on-going care for your pets. Thus, social distancing and proper hygiene measures are critically important for everyone including clients, patients, and the veterinary team.
Once again, our deepest gratitude for your continued kindness and support as we work together for the health & wellbeing of our community and its pets.🙏
Your Hometown Vet
Surgical Update – March 26, 2020‼️
Until further notice, Creston Veterinary Hospital will be delaying routine spays and neuters to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), reduce foot traffic and the risk of contamination, and make room for urgent and emergent cases. 🐾
Surgeries that have already been booked will remain on the schedule; however, each surgery be reviewed on a daily basis. Please note that it may be necessary to rebook for a later date if we need to prioritize a more serious case.
If you have not received a call to cancel or rebook your surgery, assume it’s still taking place. As always, we will be performing “reminder calls” with important pre-surgical information the night prior to your pets scheduled surgery.
The health and wellbeing of our staff and clientele is our top priority. Your patience and understanding during this difficult time allows us to make this possible.
Your Hometown Vet
Creston Veterinary Hospital has enacted enhanced preparedness and workplace policies to help ensure the safety of our clients, patients, and personnel.
Our hours of operation have changed! We are open from Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm. We are now closed on Saturday and Sunday.
We understand, now more than ever, that your access to emergency care remains available. As always, veterinarian remains on call 24/7 for pet emergencies!
We are temporarily limiting our services to urgent and emergent care only. In addition to limiting staff and public exposure, we must be strategic in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including masks, gowns, and gloves. Please refer to the attached URGENT vs. NON-URGENT infographic. Appointments will be scheduled on a case-by-case basis.
Only one person will be allowed in our lobby at a time. The door will remain locked to prevent unnecessary foot-traffic and congestion. Clients are encouraged to knock on the door or phone reception when they arrive for their scheduled appointment or pick-up.
For prescription food and medication enquiries, please call the office to arrange pre-payment and curbside pick-up. Alternatively, a no-charge delivery service will be available Monday-Friday from 3-5 pm for those who are self-isolating or otherwise unable to pick goods up. Our current area of coverage includes Creston, West Creston, Lister, Canyon, and Arrow Creek. Delivery outside of these areas may be available with an additional fee.
Creston Veterinary Hospital is doing our part to keep the community safe by social distancing and providing only essential services at this time, and we appreciate your efforts to assist us. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and update the community as more information becomes available to us.
Your Hometown Vet ❤️
KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON – Your Complete Guide for a Safe & Happy Veterinary Visit!
In the midst of recent developments with COVID-19 (coronavirus), Creston Veterinary Hospital has implemented new policies and procedures to help protect our clients and our team. Please note that we will continue to monitor this changing situation on a daily basis and will update you as required based on the recommendations of our provincial, federal and veterinary governing bodies.
Presently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that there is no evidence at present to suggest that pets can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, develop the disease, or spread the disease. Therefore, as an essential community business, Creston Veterinary Hospital is committed to providing uninterrupted service for ALL ANIMALS. At this time, our operating hours will remain unchanged and we will continue to offer 24/7 emergency services.
Without question, we want to be the best stewards of our patients; however, our primary concern is the health and wellbeing of our staff and clientele. As healthcare professionals, we are already sensitive to the fact that we work in confined spaces in close proximity to each other, which puts us at an increased risk for airborne transmission and surface contamination, and this is something we already manage in our routine operations. We routinely disinfect surfaces, wash our hands, and avoid touching our faces to prevent transmission of other diseases between patients and humans. As an added precaution, we have adjusted our practices to focus more on limiting exposure between humans.
Our Internal Cleaning Protocols:
- In addition to our usual exam room cleaning, we will also be cleaning the exam room door handles, seating, and pens between appointments.
- In addition to our usual daily cleaning, we will disinfect areas of reception and the waiting room (entrance and exit doors/handles, front counters, pens, credit card machines, seating, etc.) throughout the day.
- We will be disinfecting our phones and desks, keyboards and mouse surfaces regularly.
- We encourage clients to avoid using cash and cheques, and pay with credit or debit only.
- We are asking clients to be proactive in washing their hands and using sanitizer before, during and after their appointment. Hand sanitizer will be available around the hospital and in all client areas.
- Ultimately, we don’t want a pet who needs help to go without veterinary care!
‼️ IMPORTANT!‼️ If you feel ANY flu like symptoms or symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or sore throat, have traveled internationally (USA included) or been on a cruise, you are asked NOT to enter the premises until you’ve self-quarantined for at least 14 days. This includes people who have been in direct contact with people who are currently being tested or have tested positive for COVID-19.
For the health and safety of our staff and clientele, please don’t be shy about telling us; it is our social responsibility to ensure members of our community feel safe and supported at all times.
If you are concerned about limiting your exposure, have possibly been exposed yourself or have undiagnosed symptoms, please ask for one of these special options.
Non-Traditional Appointment Options:
- Please have a friend or family member bring your pet in, but ensure that we are able to contact you by telephone so that we can walk you through the appointment step-by-step, obtain consent for diagnosis or treatment, and process payment.
- Pet Only Appointment – we will come out to your car and take your pet inside for an exam. You can remain in your car during the appointment and the doctor will speak with you on the phone about your pet. A credit card can be used to check you out over the phone before you leave. Then, we will bring your pet and any needed medications out to you. If your pet is overly anxious without you present, we can plan for a safe sedative to give prior to the appointment to make the experience less worrisome.
- Surgical and drop-off appointments – we can go over admitting questions over the phone in advance or on the day of the procedure. At your scheduled appointment, we will come out to your vehicle to retrieve your pet as well as have you sign the authorization paperwork. When your pet is ready to go, we will call you to schedule a pick-up time and go over everything by phone, as well as payment. When you arrive for pick up, give us a call and we will bring your pet and any needed medications out to you.
- If you require food, prescription renewals, or over-the-counter supplies, please call at least 24hrs in advance to order and pay ahead. Once your items have arrived, we are happy to deliver them to your vehicle (give us a call when you arrive at the clinic) or directly to your home.
- If you wish to join your pet in clinic and are safe to do so according to our new guidelines, we ask that only one “pet parent” be present for the appointment. Please avoid shaking hands and hugging at this time. Our intent is to minimize foot traffic and limit the amount of exposure to workers and clients who are at moderate risk
- Currently, there are no issues with ordering food, medications. or supplies; however, there may be future problems. We will be monitoring the situation closely and working around any supply chain problems the best we can.
- If you are currently purchasing your pet’s medications from a human pharmacy and would like to avoid going there, please call us. We may be able to provide those medications or special order them for you so you don’t have to wait with other potentially sick humans.
Our goal is for Creston Veterinary Hospital to be the least risky place for you to visit outside of your home. You can feel confident knowing that your pets can still get the quality care they need without risking your own health.
We also want our team members to stay healthy so we can continue to provide you with the thoughtful and comprehensive care you have come to know and love.
Like most business, this is uncharted territory for us. Please be patient and flexible as we navigate our new protocols and do our best to remain current with the ever-changing information. Rest assured that we will monitor the situation closely and update the community in real-time as more information becomes available to us.
Your Hometown Vet
Helpful Resources & Links:
- COVID-19 FAQ for Pet Owners
- Animals and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Interim Guidance for Public Health Professionals Managing People With COVID-19 in Home Care and Isolation Who Have Pets or Other Animals
- BC CDC COVID-19 Care
- BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool
- Urgent vs. Non-Urgent Infographic