In some ways it’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we started our curbside-only service. While I know it has been a major convenience to some of our pet parents, it has been incredibly difficult for many others. Trying to coordinate proper patient care over the phone is challenging and very time consuming, making your time here much longer; But the biggest issue is that we really miss you. The phone just doesn’t replace real person to person interaction.
What has been going on over the last year? Over the course of the last year we have had some employees leave us, sometimes for a career change, some have moved away. One left for medical reasons. One of our employees who was young and healthy has been out since early December with long-COVID syndrome and we are not sure when they will be healthy enough to return. We have some new faces here of course, but it has been especially hard to recruit new team members over the past year due to high demand in the industry. We have also gained a new doctor, Dr. Daniel Rodrigues. He is a fantastic doctor and a great addition to our team.
Another challenge that we have faced is shortages of medications, supplies, and food. Hopefully it will all improve from here, but many medications and diets are not available currently. We still recommend that you give us as much notice as possible to help find a different solution if your pet’s treatment is unavailable.
We have a new relationship with Just Food for Dogs. This is a homemade-style diet developed by veterinary nutritionists, dermatologists, and internal medicine specialists. We briefly had a nutritional consultant from the company on-site, and they will return once our lobby opens again. This diet is a great alternative for pickier eaters and pets on a raw or freeze-dried diet — which we do not recommend for pet and owner health — who are looking for a change.
The number one question we have been getting is, “When will OCVMC open the door for pet owners?” The answer is that unfortunately, we still don’t know. While COVID cases have dropped in Orange County and the tier level has dropped to red, as a veterinary hospital, we are bound to guidelines established by the California Department of Public Health, Cal/OSHA, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. They have very specific instructions for veterinary practices on adherence to curbside services only. This means that we have to wait until they publish new guidelines for veterinary practices.
I have spent a lot of time with the CDPH and Cal/OSHA trying to find out when new revisions are to be released (the last revision was on January 28th), and we were directed to follow published guidelines. We are prepared to start allowing pet parents access to the hospital once guidelines have changed. We will start slowly, in order to build a system that adequately addresses your safety. The goal will be to get as many people back in safely, following whatever the new guidelines will allow. Since this is something outside our control, we deeply appreciate your patience.
We will let you know when we can start allowing pet parents in our practice, and keep you updated on any other new and exciting changes to come. We will send out notifications on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, our website, and our Pet Desk App.
We really love being you pet’s vet.
— Dr. Jeffrey Horn, Practice Owner