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  • Writer's pictureKnollwood Hospital for Pets

Yes, keep your appointment...

Soooo....what are we doing to keep you (and your pet) safe?

The image above shows a collection of pink particles (the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2), blasting out of an infected cell in a scanning-electron-microscope image. The coronavirus causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, which is spreading rapidly around the world and has infected tens of thousands of people worldwide. The virus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, belongs to the same family as the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. For more scientific stuff, check out our facebook posts last week about where you can find updated Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics on how many confirmed cases there are in the world and in the USA, as well as tons of helpful information about how to stay healthy.

Right now though, we want to tell you what we are doing to keep you and your pet safe. We’ve been to and talked to lots of Doctors’ offices this week, from those in hospitals to specialty practices in our Chicagoland area (as many of you know, Dr. M has been in a bunch of them the past 2 weeks, getting answers to her back problems, and she believes in spending her waiting time wisely). We’ve also talked to CDC people that Dr. M knows, and we’ve talked to the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association. We are full of information about what we ought to be doing.

We are also feeling pretty smug about the fact that we have ALREADY BEEN DOING IT-- everything that is recommended, and we’ve been doing so since our hospital opened in 1993. You see, one of the things that Dr. M wanted to make sure happened when she finally was able to open her own practice, was to NOT have it look or smell like some of the pigsties she worked in for the first 10 years she was in practice. She wanted to have a hospital in which you could literally eat off the floor, lick the walls, or change a diaper (or set your phone) on an exam room table. So, from Day 1, multiple times a day, we clean and disinfect Everything!

In fact, we have two staff persons, our Hospital Assistants (HAs), who do NOTHING but attend to hospital cleanliness and sanitation. Every day. They clean fomites - those things that everyone touches that spread infection really well: light switches, door handles, our hot beverage station, chairs, magazine racks, bathroom, entrance and exit doors, the place you set your purse when you make get the drift. They wash walls and floors. They spray ceilings (and not with Lysol - that’s a different coronavirus mentioned on the back of the spray can!) They clean up after nervous pets. Those throw blankies we have available for your pet? They are washed and disinfected after every single use. Our HAs have checklists to sign off on, and someone to check them, and they know how important their jobs are.

And we’ve revved up even THAT. Our cleaning solutions and handwashing disinfecting solutions are surgical grade that kills SARS-CoV-2, the new name for this nasty virus. We change our scrubs even more frequently than we did before. And, should there be a worsening of confirmed COVID-19 cases in our area, well, our soothing mandala coloring books that so many of you love, and the food magazines, and the coffee spoons & natural organic sweeteners, and maybe even the coffee and tea service, may temporarily go by the wayside. And the cookies...and the candy jar.

What you WON’T see is us wearing masks, or spraying Lysol around, or doing other silly things that have no documented preventative effects. But, and just saying, we’re telling you in advance, if you show up all snuffly, snotty, or sneezing or coughing, we may ask YOU to either put on a mask or we may tell you that we’ll come out to your car. And rest assured that no sick Knollwood staff will be at work, either.

Do you have to worry about your pet getting COVID-19? There’s been one confirmed case, in Hong Kong, of a dog who has tested weakly positive. And all scientists know that some human coronaviruses started in another animal - chickens, bats, cattle, and many other animals can get their own kind of coronaviruses. However, it is believed MOST likely that if you were to get COVID-19 from a pet - any pet - it would be because an infected person sneezed or coughed, or wiped their snotty hands, on your pet and, in the few minutes that the virus remains alive, you kissed, shared food with, or hugged that pet.

Dr. Gail Golab, Chief Veterinary Officer, Scientific Affairs, with the American Veterinary Medical Association, says that her advice to pet owners remains the same: Focus on hygiene, and if ill, stay home and away from pets -- “including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.” We’d add, use caution about doing the same with ill humans!

And seriously...keep your appointment with us. If anything changes, we’ll do exactly like we did during each of the last few Hills Prescription Food crises: we contacted every single Knollwood client over the weekend. And if there is a local municipal decision to close businesses now that Illinois has just become the 14th state to declare a Disaster Proclamation?? We’ll comply, and emergency house calls will be offered to cases that cannot wait until the office can re-open. We’ll figure this out, on a case-by-case basis -- we’re not going to leave you stranded.

Let’s all stay safe and healthy!

Dr. M.

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