Local veterinary clinic sees increase in visits during the pandemic

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They have also instituted protocols to keep visitors and themselves safe

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A lot of people are working from home and one positive to that, or “PAW-sitive,” is that individuals get to spend more time with their pets.

“So they’re noticing when they’re scratching or when they might not be eating, versus they were at work all day so they may not have seen what’s going on at home,” said Courtney O’Neill, doctor of veterinary medicine at the Austintown Veterinary Clinic.

They’re doing their best to keep up with everyone. She said each doctor sees around 15 to 20 patients per day.

“Each patient takes longer because we have to get a patient from a car, get the history, we’re doing exams back in the treatment area, so we’re trying to minimize the time that our staff and our doctors are in a room with a person,” O’Neill said. “Deep cleaning the rooms after each appointment.”

To accommodate as many people as possible, they’re allowing people to drop off their pets so that they have more time to see them, run diagnostics and help as many animals as they can.

They’ve also instituted some protocols for visitors to follow, which include calling from the parking lot when they arrive, one person per pet allowed inside, mandatory face coverings and rescheduling if people don’t feel well or have been exposed to the coronavirus. Each exam is done back in a treatment room, instead of in a room with the owner. Staff will check people out from the exam room, there’s a 24-hour notice for prescription refills or written requests, and patients must call from the parking lot for medication and food pick-ups.

“We can absolutely get the pet from your car, and you can stay in the car so you don’t even need to come in,” O’Neill said as an option for visitors. “We’re doing payment over the phone so you don’t even need to come in and slide your credit card. We can keep as much distance as you’d like.”

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