Businesses that provide veterinary services are permitted to continue to deliver essential services, as indicated in the list of essential workplaces provided by the Province of Ontario on March 23, 2020.
The items on the list which pertain to veterinary medicine are:
24. Businesses that provide veterinary services, and that supply veterinary and animal control medications and related supplies and testing kits;
3. Businesses that provide essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including feed, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding;
71. Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including veterinarians, farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and other service providers;
Veterinarians must continue to follow all public health recommendations, be innovative in your care delivery by making use of telemedicine whenever possible and make smart choices in reducing services not essential to the scope of the work you do for the time being. When you do provide necessary treatment, be attentive to your infection control and biosecurity protocols to safeguard employees and clients.
The College has been consistent in its message that veterinarians are to use their judgement in reducing services that are not deemed necessary to support human and animal health at this time of public health emergency.
What that looks like is dependent on your individual practice. As in human health care, it makes sense for veterinarians to maintain services that avoid negative patient outcomes. It is equally logical to avert situations that would have a direct negative impact on the safety or welfare of an animal or group of animals. Preventative health measures that have long term disease implications, (such as flea and tick control, heartworm prevention) can also potentially be maintained in many cases through mechanisms such as telemedicine. Veterinary services dedicated to food safety and disease response in livestock are critical.
The College continues to monitor this challenging and unprecedented situation. Please watch for our updates. Please connect by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.