PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020 - 17

As of March 22, 2020, Governor Wolf granted the Department
of State's request to suspend restrictions on distance-learning
for continuing education requirements for certain licensed
professionals. Many licensing boards of the Bureau of
Professional and Occupational Affairs have ongoing continuing
education requirements. Although only a few boards are
currently in renewal, many "in-person" continuing education
programs are canceling courses or closing education centers and
it is unknown how long they may be impacted.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has advised
veterinarians to contact their County Emergency Management
Administrator if they have surplus PPE and supplies to be
donated. PVMA has been informed that nursing homes and
long-term care facilities cannot get PPE from PEMA unless they
have an active COVID-19 case, and many of these facilities
are low on supplies. Veterinarians can check with local health
officials to see if there is an opportunity to help with drive
through testing centers and other COVID-19 related services.

The Boards listed below have restrictions on the number or
percentage of continuing-education hours that can be done
through distance education. The governor granted a suspension
of restrictions that limited the ability of licensees to take classes
online or participate in distance-learning opportunities for
the current biennial renewal period to permit all licensees to
complete their continuing education online during the COVID-19
pandemic.

Is there a way for PVMA and AVMA to share with the general
public the AVMA request for veterinarians to conserve PPE
by delaying elective surgeries and dental cleanings? While my
hospital has stated the rationale on our website and Facebook
pages, there are comments from some clients stating they
will "go elsewhere" to another clinic who will provide these
services. Understandably, clients with female dogs that might
go through estrus during this delay are concerned. While we
are trying to educate our clients, it would help a lot if PVMA
and AVMA could let the pet owners know that veterinary
practices working to meet these AVMA requests are making
the correct choice.
Yes, PVMA can work through social media to educate the public
on the need to conserve supplies by canceling non-essential
procedures. The AVMA also released some guidelines for use of
PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic when the demands exceeds
the supply. Visit bit.ly/2V544BM to view those guidelines.

This applies to the following boards and licensees:
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STATE BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY
STATE BOARD OF MEDICINE - Licensed Respiratory
Therapists
STATE BOARD OF MASSAGE THERAPY
STATE BOARD OF OPTOMETRY - Optometrists
STATE BOARD OF PODIATRY - Podiatrists
STATE BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE - Veterinarians
STATE BOARD OF DENTISTRY - Dentists, dental hygienists
and expanded function dental assistants
STATE BOARD OF PSYCHOLOGY - Psychologists
STATE BOARD OF SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND
FAMILY THERAPISTS AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS -
Licensed social workers, clinical social workers, marriage
and family therapists and professional counselors

Pennsylvania has been far behind most other states in their
online continuing education allowances. When I contacted the
state board about this several years ago, they said they relied
on the Pennsylvania VMA for recommendations. What are you
doing to increase the online continuing education allowances
in Pennsylvania, not just temporarily but permanently?
The limits for online CE are part of the PA Veterinary Practice
Act, which means changing them would be a legislative process
that opens the entire practice act for change. Normally, PVMA
tries to limit opening the practice act, as it could introduce other
changes that we do not support. If there is a groundswell of
support for opening the act to change CE requirements, PVMA
will certainly look at advocating for this change.

SHORTAGE OF HUMAN MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND PPE
Given the probability that our human counterparts likely will
become overwhelmed and need help and resources at some
point in some locations, is there a coordinated mechanism for
veterinarians to volunteer their services and/or supplies? We
may not be licensed to treat humans, but we certainly can
triage, prepare treatments, take vitals, etc.

COVID-19 AND ANIMALS
Can animals act as fomites and/or vectors for COVID-19?
Despite one dog testing a "weak positive" for COVID-19 in Hong
Kong, there is no evidence that animals can get or transmit
the virus. IDEXX announced on March 14, 2020, that it had
evaluated thousands of canine and feline specimens during
validation of its new veterinary test system for the COVID-19
virus and had obtained no positive result. Considering this
information in total, infectious disease experts and multiple
international and domestic human and animal health
organizations (CDC, OIE, WHO) agree there is no evidence at this
point to indicate that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals
or people.
(The following is an excerpt from AVMA.org and provides
updated data that came after our town hall Q&A's were
published.)
During the third week of March, the Federal Agency for the
Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) in Belgium reported it was
informed on March 18 by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
at the University of Liege that viral RNA of SARS-CoV-2 was
detected by PCR (RRT-PCR and high throughput sequencing
PCR; specifics not provided) in the feces and vomit of a cat with
digestive and respiratory clinical signs. The cat was owned by a
person infected with SARS-CoV-2, but according to the Scientific
Committee of the FASFC it is not known whether the sequences
of virus in the cat and the owner were similar.
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Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association | 17


http://www.bit.ly/2V544BM http://avma.org

PVMA Keystone Veterinarian Spring 2020

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