PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020 - 15

Q&A SUMMARY OF
PVMA'S VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
The Q&A summary in this publication was accurate at the time of printing. Between printing and
mailing, information may have changed. Please visit bit.ly/PVMAtownhallQA for the most up-to-date version.

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, PVMA held a Virtual Town Hall
to answer important questions that were submitted by your
veterinary colleagues. Our panelists included Dr. Kevin Brightbill,
Dr. Tina Dougherty, Dr. Kate Harnish, Dr. Bryan Langlois, Dr.
Lloyd Reitz, and Dr. David Wolfgang. We have compiled those
questions and answers below. If there have been any changes to
the topic since the Town Hall, that question has been answered
with the most up-to-date information we can provide.
If you have a question that was not answered in this article,
please visit PaVMA.org/COVID-vet-med-resources to submit
your question.

LIFE-SUSTAINING BUSINESSES, ESSSENTIAL VS.
NON-ESSENTIAL PROCEDURES, ETC.
The Governor just announced that all "non-life sustaining
business" should close. Veterinarians were not on the
list released to the press. What is the status of veterinary
medicine?
Kevin Brightbill, DVM, State Veterinarian, Director, PA
Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Health and
Diagnostic Services, said that the Governor's office has
confirmed that veterinary services DO fall under Healthcare and
are permitted to stay open.
Is there a difference between essential and non-essential
services? In other words, should veterinary practices be open
for all services, including well visits, or only emergency and
urgent care?
Food animal medicine and surgery are considered essential as
well as non-elective care (i.e. emergency and/or critical care)
and procedures for companion animals.
Elective procedures are generally categorized as ones that can
be postponed for a period of up to 2 weeks while not having a
detrimental effect on the health of the animal during that time.
Some procedures may be judgement call on the part of the
veterinarian, as an animal may be in severe pain or in danger of
losing its life without having what may be generally considered
an "elective" procedure.
Spay/neuter surgeries that do not need to be performed to
serve a lifesaving function (i.e pyometra), declaw procedures,
lump or mass removals that are not urgent, basic dental
prophylaxis procedures, and sedation for things like grooming
or nail trims (unless medically needed) are not essential and
should not be performed during this shutdown. Feral Cat TNR

(trap, neuter, release) services will be considered elective as
well during this period.
Multiple extractions would not be considered elective because
it is medically needed to alleviate discomfort from the animal.
Any dental procedure where major dental pathology is present
would be deemed non-elective.
Veterinarians should use their best judgment. While the state
is not going to be auditing every procedure you perform during
the shutdown, we should be aware of the need to conserve PPE
and keep our staff, clients, and ourselves as safe as possible.
What about vaccinations such as rabies? If a vaccination
is expiring and a new vaccination is legally required, is it
considered urgent to see that animal?
The state is not waiving the legal requirements on vaccinations;
however, there is little chance that the state will be checking
expired vaccinations at this time. Dr. Brightbill advised delaying
vaccinations if possible, with the exception being if there is an
active case of rabies in the community or any other situation
that may further compromise public health.
Are veterinarians entitled to move to their practices or run
a field service should the government install a curfew? Do
provisions exist to maintain at least a minimal veterinary care
service in this and the surrounding states?
We do not anticipate that the state will impose a curfew. Since
non-elective veterinary services are considered life-sustaining,
care will still be provided to the public. If a veterinarian does
provide mobile care, all prescribed precautions for virus
transmittal should be in place, as well as social distancing.
What are recommendations for house call vets. Especially
small animal vets?
House calls should only take place for emergency or urgent care.
You should ask the client if anyone in the household has tested
positive for COVID-19 or is quarantined. House calls should not
take place in these situations. Use proper protocols, such as
the use of PPE and basic hygiene, such as proper handwashing.
Direct human contact should be limited, and social distancing
maintained.
AVMA has published guidelines for house calls and mobile vets
here: bit.ly/3dVzByy.
As the State has declared veterinary clinics "essential," if
my practices should close (illness with COVID-19, to protect
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Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association | 15


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PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020

PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020 - 1
PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020 - 2
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