This spring has certainly thrown a curveball to everyone, especially here in Montgomery County and in our community of Lower Merion. We are extremely proud of how our community has responded, and we are especially grateful to be able to still take care of our furry family members even if it is on a more limited basis. We have had to reduce the number of staff members in the office at one time not only to comply with Governor Wolf’s recommendations but because we hold the health and safekeeping of our team and clients just as high as we hold the health and safekeeping of the pets that we are caring for.
You may have already experienced our curbside drop off and pick up. During your appointment, while you wait in your car, our team will care for your pet just as we always have. We will communicate with you on the phone to gather details and relay the findings and advice before we wash our hands one more time and bring your pet safely back out to you. We have been wearing masks at work the whole time and ask you to wear a mask during the exchange of your pet as well. Inside, we have developed new protocols like restricting staff to one computer as much as possible, moving our workstations apart, taking the temperatures of every staff member every day, and using a weekly deep clean anti-viral fogger every Sunday all over the hospital. We continue to clean all surfaces between every pet’s exam, just like we always have.
To try and keep up with the need to help our clients, we have started offering more telemedicine consultations than ever before. Many problems can be evaluated this way, thereby keeping you safe at home while putting to work one of our doctors who is not able to be in the building because of the restriction on the number of staff allowed. While we have had a robust online pharmacy for over 2 years, we have begun sending discount codes to you for savings so that you might get your prescription foods or medications delivered right to your door from us. As always, you can pick your food or medications up from our front porch by calling, texting, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or using your PetDesk app to make your request. We will notify you when it is ready and you can pay over the phone.
This week, we enabled two-way texting. You can now text us at our usual number: 610-642-3102. We thought that this would be a great way to avoid having our phone lines tied up and make it easier for you to get through when you really need to call and talk. We also thought that this would be a quick and easy way for you to let us know that you have arrived for your appointment. It probably goes without saying... NEVER use text if you have an emergency! Call us for answers to urgent concerns.
We have made a change with how we deal with online pharmacies. It has always been a very time-consuming endeavor to manage their requests for approval. In many cases, our staff sits on hold for up to 20 to 30 minutes at a time just to accomplish an approval. Some online pharmacies do not accept emailed approvals or do not have the software necessary to allow for us to send electronic prescriptions. Effective immediately, if you want to use any online pharmacy other than ours (which integrates directly with our practice software so there is no “approval” hurdle), you will need to pick up your written and signed prescription so that you can provide that to the pharmacy of your choice. We are happy to provide any prescriptions that you might need during your appointments. You will also be able to pick up a written prescription if you need one for some reason between appointments for an approved medication. If you choose an online pharmacy that is not ours, I caution you to be certain that you are using an accredited pharmacy. Many veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturers will only guarantee their products when obtained from a veterinarian or veterinarian’s online store. Orders placed on our website through Purina Vet Direct for Purina diets or our online pharmacy Vetsource. No approval is needed since it interfaces directly with our secure medical record. Alternatively, if you like to “shop local” in our community, we have most of the products you need in stock on our shelves at all times for you to pick up.
We are so proud of our community and are grateful for your support. We are confident that whatever our new normal becomes, our mission to nurture the bond between you and your pet will not waver.
Did you get a new puppy during the Stay at Home Quarantine?
If you are like many people, you decided that now is an ideal time to get a new puppy or dog from a breeder or shelter. Everyone in the family is home to help train, housebreak, and bond with the puppy. It seems like the perfect time, and who does not love all the snuggles that could make quarantine a little less boring and stressful.
There are a lot of good reasons to take a pet into your household right now, but it is important to prepare your new companion for success once you and your family return to doing things like work and school outside the house. We prepared this newsletter to guide you in doing just that. Let us help prepare you for success while taking advantage of all the joy a new pet can bring.
- Crate training is still important. Even if you are home all day, still make the crate a safe and comfortable space for your puppy and get into a routine. We recommend feeding in the crate, so the puppy associates the crate with good things. Store the toys in there when he is not confined to the crate, so he goes in willingly to retrieve his toys.
- Practice exposing her to new sounds at a low volume like the vacuum and the garbage disposal. Practice new sounds outside too, like the garbage truck or lawn care equipment like leaf blowers. Sit outside on your front porch when landscapers are across the street or when the garbage truck comes. Offer some delicious food rewards in the presence of these new and novel sounds to ensure your puppy pairs a good association with them!
- Teach him to quietly watch people and dogs passing by from a distance.
- Practice positive reinforcement when in view of another dog (even while social distancing). Each time your puppy sees another dog, offer them praise and a food reward so they think other dogs mean good things!
- Practice standing in the window and acting happy when people, dogs, cars, and trucks go by.
- Practice having people come to the house by having another family member who lives with you ring the doorbell, knock, or slide mail through the mail slot.
- Practice taking your puppy for a car ride around the block. Park in a parking lot for a minute and practice letting him see people walk by your car.
- Teach him to settle down on a mat or doggie bed, sit, stay, have his feet and ears touched and inspected.
- Practice leaving him alone several times a day by going outside in your yard or for a safe socially distant walk without him.
When we can return to visiting with friends and family members outside of our households, remember that this will be all new to your furry friend, and new people might be intimidating.
Take it slow and always associate that new person with a positive experience like a new toy or treat. If your dog seems nervous, do not force her to interact with your guest.
Now would be a wonderful time to reach out to one of our most highly recommended dog trainers: At Attention Dog Training. Whether you have any questions about potty training, crate training, puppy nipping, interactions with your family, basic obedience, or more, they have been actively working with clients virtually during the pandemic.
Here is a link to their website where you can reach out to schedule: http://www.atattentiondogs.com/
Gladwyne Animal Hospital clients can use the promo code “GAH2020” for a $25 discount towards your initial consultation.
Good luck, and we cannot wait to meet you in person with your furry friend. If you need us now, we are still here for you. During Covid-19 restrictions, you just must wait in the car while we love and care for your pet in our office.
Human Corona Virus Covid-19 and Pets
Many people have questions about whether their pets are at risk or pose a threat to them during this outbreak.
We want you to know that your dogs and cats are safe. Nothing that we have learned so far suggests that dogs or cats can become ill.
While we are still learning about this new strain of coronavirus, what we know now indicates that dogs and cats cannot become ill from this particular strain of the coronavirus. There is evidence that an infected person exposed a dog to the coronavirus in Hong Kong. This dog did not become ill, but the virus was found in his nasal passages. Because of the information learned from this case, it is appropriate to be cautious if you are diagnosed with coronavirus and realize that excessive contact with your pet could increase the risk that he may harbor coronavirus in his nasal passages. If that happens, it is unlikely but possible that he could transfer the virus to others who contact him. If you are uncertain whether your illness is coronavirus or are diagnosed with coronavirus, it is recommended that you treat your pets as you would any other people with whom you have close contact. To date, there are NO cases of dog or cat to human transmission of this virus. As with many infectious diseases, the best defense is good hygiene. Washing hands before and after excessive contact such as feeding, administering medications, grooming, and cleaning up after your pet is always a good idea.
At GAH, in an effort to protect our clients, we have increased our already diligent cleaning protocols, especially in our common areas. We will have a no handshake and no hug zone as long as appropriate. If any member of our staff is not feeling well, they will be sent home or not come to work. We are asking that if there are any cars in our lot when you arrive, that you call us to notify us that you have arrived and wait in your car so that we may maintain social distancing as much as possible. We continue to make phone consultations available.
At this time, we are not experiencing significant shortages of pharmaceuticals or prescription pet diets, but it is a good idea to refill medications and foods before your supply is very low.
It is a happy summer here at the Gladwyne Animal Hospital. We have been privileged to welcome new members to our team and continue to look for ways to serve our community better. New faces in the hospital are at the reception desk, assisting our technicians and in the doctor appointments!
Please join us in welcoming Brittany Benedetti at the front desk, Kelly Dyer as a technician assistant and Dr. Taylor Ross in appointments and surgery.
Brittany joins us with years of experience working with animal shelters and rescues, fostering kittens and in customer service at Blue Mercury on the Main Line. Joining Cindy and Jess at the front desk, her smile is sure to make you feel welcome when you come in the front door.
Kelly grew up here on the Main Line, and earned her B.A. at Millersville University. She is learning from the best here at GAH on how to be a great technician and joins us with lots of pet experience already, having groomed dogs at a salon in Manayunk. Grooming experience is a guarantee that she is long on patience and we are happy to have her calm energy in the building.
Dr. Ross is a University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and Boston College alumna. We are thrilled to have her bringing new insights and ideas, an impressive level of clinical competence, and a bedside manner that matches our mission of nurturing the bond between people and their pets. Dr. Ross is the youngest of four sisters which are fitting as she is now the youngest doctor of our GAH family.
With the new staff additions, we have been able to increase our hours to better accommodate our clients, opening at 7 AM most mornings and staying open until 8 PM on at least one night of the week. Our last and most exciting update of the summer is that Tara, technician extraordinaire, has become a mom! She delivered her beautiful baby girl, Evelyn James and they are happy and healthy at home with dad and dog.
Our team energy is as hot as the 2019 summer sunshine!
Happy New Year from Gladwyne Animal Hospital!
We are very excited to announce several new services to make it easier for you to keep your pet healthy.
You can now use an app on your smartphone to request appointments and refills. When using PetDesk to schedule appointments, your chosen time will be confirmed within 24 hours and often faster. You will get a text message to tell you when your appointments are or when your requested refills are ready to pick up. Don’t want to use your phone? You can also do this right from your desktop on our website.
We are offering Phone Consultations with our doctors. If your pet has been seen by us within the last year, and you cannot manage to make it into the office, we are happy to schedule a phone consult with you and make recommendations if appropriate for a $40 fee. If during the call we determine that an in-person visit is needed, the phone fee will be applied to your scheduled visit fee.
On our website, you will find an Online Pharmacy where you can order Royal Canin, Hills, and Purina Pet food, among other things, for delivery to your home. Because these are coming directly from our authorized distributors, you can rely on the safety and quality of anything that you order.
The Pet Health Library tab on our website offers articles searchable by species and topics. These articles provide up to date, trustworthy information. Of course, if you have a question you can still always reach out to us.
We are increasing our housecall availability. This may be perfect for you if your pet does not travel well. Housecall fees depend on travel time to your home.
We continue to offer surgery appointments five days per week as well as office hours on Saturdays.