As more businesses adapt to social distancing with accommodations such as curbside assistance, veterinary care clinics are also implementing drive-thru-like service for people and their pets.
According to Companion Animal Hospital manager Whitney Grisso, clients are now able to seek veterinary attention for their pets while still minimizing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
“We're offering curbside service where we go out and we take the pet from [the] car and have the owners wait in their car while we examine them inside,” Grisso said. “The doctor calls them on the phone with the findings and recommendations, and then we take payment out of their car with their mobile device or we can take payment over the phone.”
Grisso said despite offering curbside service, the clinic has seen a decrease in patients since the coronavirus outbreak.
“We haven't had as many appointments lately,” Grisso said. “I think people are scared to come out of their home, which is understandable.”
In addition to closing the clinic’s lobby, Grisso said staff members wear gloves and face masks when interacting with clients in order to reduce the risk of exposure.
According to Grisso, some pet owners have found it challenging to let their pets go in to see the vet without accompanying them. Grisso said while she understands the concern of comforting a pet, the separation normally helps alleviate stress for the animal.
“Pets always usually do good without their owners, because a lot of times they feed off of their owners' energy,” Grisso said. “So, if their owner is nervous, they're going to be nervous. If they're anxious, then they're going to be the same way. So, we usually try to take them ... to the back just to get them away from that energy, to calm them down and be able to control them a little bit more.”
Whereas some clinics have seen a decrease in clientele, others such as the Veterinary Medical Center of Spring have noticed an increase in patients as a result of closures of smaller business such as mobile veterinary clinics. Client service representative Lexi Trimbach said it has been rewarding to stay open as an essential business at this time.
“It's nice being open to help those sick animals who really need the attention,” Trimbach said. “It would be bad for them if they just stayed home without getting to see a doctor or anything.”
Despite the increase in clientele, Trimbach said the social distancing keeps her from being able connect with clients in a more personal way.
“It's different not seeing clients come in,” Trimbach said. “There's less interaction, which I don't really like because I'm a very people person."