COVID Update: May 17th

As all our staff and adult client population now have the opportunity to become vaccinated against Covid, we are considering how to transition back to a more standard operating procedure. We have many factors to take into account. Pinellas County is still in the High Risk category as of this date (5/16/21) and we have a few high risk employees along with some who are not able to be vaccinated who must be considered. In our facility, our exam rooms are too small to allow for social distancing and while our lobby is large, it was often far too crowded pre-Covid to allow for social distancing. Our hospital has been lucky in that we have not been required to shut down over the past year and we want to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future so we can continue to care for your pets.

 

We miss seeing our clients face-to-face and want to find a way to open our doors safely. Though we have not made any firm decisions, we are considering many different options including keeping masks on, continuing curbside service for medication/food pickup and boarding check-in and check-out, along with continuing curbside service for our clients who request it. This may help with the lobby crowding. We need to make the transition in a considered and thoughtful manner to protect everyone, but our goal is early to mid-June.

 

Once it appears safe to do so, we are looking forward to an Open House to introduce our new Steele Pain Management and Rehabilitation Center to the public! We appreciate your patience and understanding with the lengthy, and sometimes messy, construction process.

 

Hopefully the Covid numbers will begin to calm down as more people get vaccinated and we can get back to a more normal process. As much as we love hugging your pets, we’ve missed all the face time we had with you before Covid struck. We look forward to welcoming everyone back inside our practice once it is safe to do so!

 

-Dr Baird & staff

Updated Curbside-Concierge Protocol August 2020

As the COVID-19
pandemic continues to grow in scope in the U.S. and Florida specifically, we
are expanding and revising our safety precautions to help protect our clients
and our healthcare team by following CDC & WHO guidelines. This is an
ever-changing situation and we continue to seek ways to streamline the process
while optimizing our safety precautions.

This
necessitates reduced direct human contact and we have modified our appointment,
boarding procedures and food/prescription pick-up protocols. While we are open
to provide continued veterinary care and boarding, our lobby is currently
closed. We simply cannot provide proper social distancing in our lobby and exam
rooms.

To protect the health of our team and other clients, we request
all clients showing any signs of illness including low grade fever and simple
body aches please remain at home and not bring your pet in for care. This
includes the more obvious signs of COVID-19 as well. If you have a known
exposure to COVID-19 or a pending test, we request you have someone else bring
your pet in for you. We will happily speak to you by phone directly, but
request you not come in person.

We have an online pre-appointment form to help
expedite check-in for appointments – this form provides an opportunity to
express your concerns, advise us of abnormal behaviors, note any questions and
provide us with critical health information in advance of your appointment. Please
complete this prior to your scheduled appointment so we may review the information
before your arrival. We will still call you at check-in, so you may add any new
observations, requests or concerns if anything has changed. If you are
including medication refill requests, please complete and submit the form 24
hours before your appointment so we may fill those prescriptions in advance and
have them ready for you at your appointment time (if appropriate). There is a
separate registration form for pets coming for boarding. Completing the boarding registration form
online
in advance will reduce the time required to check in on site.
If your pet is boarding and needs medical care as well, please complete both
forms to expedite admission upon arrival.

If you do not
have a cell phone, please notify us when you make your appointment and we will
make special arrangements to manage communication as safely as possible.

All cats,
rabbits and other small mammals must be in a carrier or closed cage for their
safety. All dogs must be leashed at all times.

Check-in/Admission Process for Appointments:

 

  • When you pull into a
    parking space, you will see a sign with our phone number and the parking space
    number. Please call to notify us that you have arrived. Please stay in your car
    and a team member will speak to you over the phone to record your pet’s current
    health status, including any symptoms or concerns or specific requests. They
    will review any concerns you have noted on the online pre-appointment pet information form and clarify any questions. A team member will
    ask you to then collect your pet and meet them on the sidewalk directly in
    front of your vehicle – please have your protective mask in place. The team
    member will come to collect your pet to bring them into the clinic for
    examination and evaluation and to have you authorize any documents, if needed.
    For dogs, the staff member will apply a double slip lead and you may then
    remove your personal leash after they have their leashes in place.
    Belcher Road is extremely busy, so it is critical dogs be leashed at all times
    and in either your control or ours.
  • We ask you to remain in your car onsite if
    your pet is here for an exam/appointment so you are readily available should we
    have any additional questions and in order to return your pet to you as
    promptly as possible. Our goal is to minimize pet anxiety and have you reunited
    as quickly as is practical. We will use our typical anxiety-reducing Fear Free
    techniques while caring for your pet. This often involves treats, so
    please warn us if there is anything they should not eat!
  • Please have your phone volume on and answer
    your phone when we call as this is by far our safest communication method.
  • Once the exam/evaluation is complete, we will
    call to share any concerns or clarify questions and review the results of the
    exam and recommendations for treatment if warranted. Any recommended treatments
    will be performed with your approval and medications prepared for dispensing as
    needed.
  • One of the team will
    then take care of processing payment so the receipt may be returned to you with
    your pet as well as any medications if indicated. The team member will clarify
    if a follow-up exam is warranted and review any medication instructions. Please
    meet them on the sidewalk in front of your vehicle again (masked) for the
    return of your pet.

Surgical or Dental Procedures or “Drop-Off” Appointments (anything involving sedation or anesthesia or day boarding):

 

  • The check-in process is the same, but you need not stay onsite and we will call you later with an update per our usual protocol. Please provide the best contact number(s) for the entire day. We will review any findings, questions, medications by phone and discharge just like an outpatient appointment as outlined above. If we have not reached you by 3pm, feel free to call in to check on your pet’s status.

Boarding Pets:

 

  • The check-in process is similar and we’ll review your pet’s feeding schedule, needs/concerns during boarding and review your pre-appointment information from the online boarding registration form and have you authorize the usual boarding paperwork. Due to the potential transfer of Covid, please do not bring your pet’s bedding during this pandemic. We will provide our own bedding throughout their stay. <This may be adjusted if we under the Hurricane Boarding Protocol>

 

  • If you are picking up from boarding, you may call ahead and we can prepare your pet(s) and collect your pet’s belongs for delivery to you when you arrive. Please call upon arrival and we’ll process your payment and bring everything to your car for you, bringing your pet(s) last if there are multiple trips. Please check to make sure you have all your pet’s belongings and medications before leaving.

Medication or food pick-up:

 

  • Please call from your car and we can process payment over the phone and deliver your medication or food and receipt directly to you in your vehicle. Many medications (not all) can be mailed by Priority Mail also if that is preferable. Order Pet food for delivery

Our goal is to provide the best possible service and care while minimizing risk during this uncertain and stressful time. While this is unfamiliar to us all, if we work together, we can continue to provide healthcare for your animals safely.

Our staff is
working very hard to provide care for your pets (at some personal risk), to
maintain intensive disinfection protocols and to continue to meet our medical
standards in these chaotic times – please show them kindness; they are working
harder than ever.

We will
continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust as needed as this evolves.
We are constantly seeking ways to make this process more efficient, but it
definitely creates some challenges and is often more time consuming.

We do expect possible
disruption in supply chains and distribution of products and medications and we
are seeing some shipping delays. We will continue to strive to provide the best
possible care for your family pets while trying to minimize everyone’s risk.

We do so appreciate your patience and understanding during this
unprecedented crisis. Our hope is to be able to continue to provide
comprehensive healthcare for your pets throughout this difficult situation.

-Dr. Baird and the staff of Country Oaks Animal Hospital