For a decision tree on helping you interface with clients, check out this AVMA Flowchart.

Develop a protocol for interacting with your clients:

  • Phone Options:
    • Offer phone consultation/telemedicine as an option for sick pets for those clients where you already have a VCPR (See GSBVM Temporary Rule Change).
      • Over the phone discuss the pet’s health issue and explain the fees for a phone appointment (charge one that makes sense for your practice).
      • Make an appointment with an available doctor to call the client back within a 20-minute window of that appointment time.
      • View Georgia Telemedicine Information
    • Take histories and payments over the phone ahead of time to limit interaction time.
    • Allow your doctors to prescribe medication over the phone. If they can’t or feel the pet should be seen in person try “curbside”– (the owner comes to the parking to the facility where staff can retrieve the pet from their car).
  • Social Distancing:
    • Assure your clients that you are doing everything to ensure that your facility is a safe space (disinfecting, limiting access to outsiders, etc.).
    • Limit client access to the building, allowing no clients in the waiting room
    • Limit exam room visits to a single person (other interested parties can participate via speaker phone) only when you feel it is necessary for a client to be present (i.e. euthanasia procedures)—they should be immediately escorted to an exam room upon entry to the building.
    • Ask the client to call the practice when they arrive so you can escort them from the door directly to the exam room. If there is no exam room available, they should be instructed to wait in their car.
    • On the few occasions that you do allow clients into the building, they should be required to use antiseptic foam and/or hand sanitizer upon entry.
    • If a sick animal is boarded, discourage visitation except in critical situations such as end of life decisions and euthanasia.
  • Curbside Options:
    • Develop a protocol for scheduled drop-off pet visits for exams, blood work or other testing—ask the client to either wait in their car or pick up the pet once the procedures are completed. Communicate follow-up info with the client by phone or in the parking lot. Establish whether you will charge a fee if the pet isn’t picked up immediately after the visit.
      • Example Communication: “To keep both our clients and our staff safe and limit exposure for everyone, we are asking that all our furry friend parents refrain from entering the building. We will send someone out to service you! When you pull up please flash your lights to alert the front desk that you are here. And then if someone does not come out promptly, call us at #### to let us know you are here.”
    • Enable your clients to drive up to pick up medications and food with the option to stay in their car (staff can drop-off items). Payment should be made over the phone prior to picking up the item.
    • Offer to mail the clients any ongoing medications.
      • Example Communication: “We are making deliveries in the afternoon to a ten-mile radius of * and will leave them outside your door with no interpersonal contact”.

Additional Resources