For some pets, having the family at home all the time has been a dream come true — more play time, perhaps more treats, and a lot more walks. For some other pets, too much of a good thing has been way too much, and they want their house back. Second Chance Animal Services is reminding pet owners to think about how the changes brought on by COVID-19 have impacted their pet.
We all need downtime, and pets are no different. Especially in larger households or families with young children, pets may need a break from the activity, noise, and attention. Having someplace quiet to escape for a break is a good idea for pets in these homes if possible. If you find your pet wandering away from the action to take a nap, let them be for a while.
Pet owners should be on the lookout for signs of stress in their pet like excessive licking and chewing, whining, or destructive behavior or accidents in the house. Any new behavior can be a clue that something’s amiss. If the behavior continues, pet owners should talk to their veterinarian to help address the issue.
Second Chance CEO Sheryl Blancato is also reminding pet owners to help their pet adjust as people return to work. “Consider adjusting your schedule slowly or have a friend or family member check on them if that’s an option. Pets thrive on routine, so every time you have to change that routine, be patient.”
Blancato was thrilled to see how many pets were adopted from Second Chance as stay-at-home restrictions were put in place. “It was an ideal time for pets to be welcomed into a family. Now, as those families may be spending less time at home, we hope adopters will help their new pets adjust to the change.”
For those who have been home with their pets this whole time, Second Chance Medical Director Grace Park recommends taking steps to teach the pet to be alone again, or for the first time with newly adopted pets. “This can include leaving them home alone for a short period and gradually extending the length of time you are out. As you head out the door, you can reward calm behavior with a special treat. A peanut-butter-filled Kong or a food-dispensing puzzle toy is great if your pet is unable to destroy them.”
Most of all, Blancato and Park urge pet owners to remain understanding and not rush to surrender their pet if they return home to an accident or chewed-up shoe. With a little time and training, the pet can adjust to the new schedule. Pet owners who think their pet may need extra support can reach out to their veterinarian for help.
We know many pet owners are anxious to have their pet fixed and we have been working on plans to restore this important program safely. Our low cost spay neuter program has been helping control pet homelessness and keeping pets healthier for 17 years.
We ask for your patience as we slowly resume scheduling on a limited basis in the next couple weeks, beginning at our North Brookfield vet hospital. We will begin by contacting pet owners with appointments that were postponed, followed by the SPOT applications and voicemails in the order they were received. We are hoping to reach you directly, but if you are awaiting a call, please be sure we are able to leave you a voicemail if we miss you.
We thank you for your understanding and support during this unusual time.
In our continuing effort to keep our staff healthy to continue to serve your pets during these uncertain times, we have made the decision to restrict client access to our clinics. Effective immediately, only employees will be permitted inside our hospital. We will continue to see appointments and perform surgeries, but our protocols are being temporarily adjusted for the safety of all.
When you arrive in our parking lot with your pet, please let the staff person that will be monitoring the parking lot know you are there. You will be checked in by one of our staff. When we are ready to see your pet, one of our staff will retrieve the pet from you at your vehicle. You will have the opportunity to speak to the doctor over the phone regarding your pet’s appointment during the visit.
When the appointment is complete, one of our staff will bring your pet back to your car, along with any medications or products needed, and you will be checked out at your vehicle. It is imperative that we abide by the CDC guidelines for social distancing to prevent further spread of the disease and keep everyone healthy. The pets depend on our ability to assist you so please be patient during these trying times so we can keep everyone safe.
If you are picking up medication or food for your pet, the same protocol applies.
Please bring your own pen in for signing of any documents.
IF YOU ARE ILL with respiratory issues, please do not come for your appointment. Please follow CDC guidelines and reschedule your appointment. If this is a pet medical emergency please alert staff from outside the building and we will assist your pet.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. However the safety of you, our staff, and your pet are our utmost concern. We hope you understand our desire to keep everyone healthy and to keep the clinics open to help keep the pets healthy.
Sheryl Blancato, CEO
A reminder from Second Chance to make sure your pet is prepared too. Ensure you have enough food, litter, medication and additional supplies. Decide who can care for your pet if you are unable to.
If you do get sick, the CDC website has important information including caring for your pet – current recommendations including limiting contact with your pet and having another family member care for the pet, if possible.
Visit the CDC website for up-to-date information: https://www.cdc.gov/
There is currently no evidence that domestic animals can develop disease from the COVID-19 virus or, if infected, transmit it to other animals or people.
Nonetheless, we would like to offer some precautions that we and other veterinary professionals recommend pet families keep in mind as the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop:
- Remember to keep your pets needs in mind when implementing your emergency preparedness plan. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) recommends “animal owners should continue to include pets and other animals in their emergency preparedness planning, including keeping a two-week supply of food and medications on hand.”
- Take this opportunity to remind your family that while we all love snuggling with our pets, practicing good hygiene is important. Even though we have no evidence that our pets can carry and transmit COVID-19, there are other diseases that can be passed from domestic animals to humans. Wash your hands after petting, playing or interacting with your pet.
- While there is no clear evidence that pets are able to transmit the COVID-19 virus, the CDC recommends that people sick with the virus or COVID-like symptoms avoid caring for their pets if possible. If you must care for your pet, limit contact and wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER pet interactions in an attempt to limit exposure for your pet.
- In an abundance of caution, if you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, please alert your veterinarian before having your pet seen for any health concerns. If it is possible your pet is contaminated with coronavirus, we don’t yet know whether veterinary hospital staff could be exposed to the COVID-19 virus when working with pets that had contact with exposed owners. It is best to discuss by phone how your veterinarian can best assist you and your pet while still protecting the staff in the event that your animal needs immediate medical attention.
Our Medical Director, Dr. Amy Alwood, provides additional information about COVID-19 and the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) below:
Scott Weese is a leading international infectious disease specialist and veterinarian. For more information about why animals may be affected differently, check out his blog: https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2020/02/articles/animals/cats/covid-2-and-potential-animal-hosts/
Other good resources to monitor include:
- The CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html)
- Other entries on Dr. Weese’s blog https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/resources-pets/
- The client education site: Veterinary Partner (https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=9548687)
We encourage all pet owners to make sure your dog’s DA2PP vaccine (distemper/parvovirus combo vaccine) is up-to-date after we learned of two confirmed cases of Parvovirus in Springfield.
The DA2PP vaccine protects against several common diseases of dogs including the deadly parvovirus. Parvovirus is widespread in the environment and easy to contract. All dogs are susceptible to this disease, especially the young, unvaccinated or undervaccinated dogs or dogs with poor vaccination history or lapsed vaccines. This deadly virus has claimed the life of one of the puppies that contracted Parvo.
Second Chance is hosting a special vaccine clinic this Saturday, August 17 from 10 am to noon at our Springfield Community Veterinary Hospital, 67 Mulberry Street. Rabies and DA2PP vaccines will be offered for $5 each thanks to a grant from Petsmart Charities. The vaccine clinic will be first come, first serve and open to all. Pet owners are reminded to bring along any prior vaccination history not on file at the hospital. All pets must be on a leash or in a carrier.
The DA2PP is initially a series of shots given 3-4 weeks apart. If your pet has never had the series or is overdue for the booster, you should make plans to get your pet vaccinated. Both the DA2PP and rabies vaccinations are also available at our weekly walk-in clinics too! Regular $12 pricing applies. Weekly Walk-In Vaccine Clinic
Please pass along this alert to fellow pet owners in the area so we can help stop the spread of this deadly disease.
Congratulations to our very own Dr. Park who was voted Best Veterinarian in Worcester Magazine‘s Best of Worcester 2019! We are so proud of all the work Dr. Park and all our veterinarians do. Everyday they change lives!
Dr. Park joined Second Chance in 2015 as our Medical Director. Her specialties include dentistry, population control, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery and geriatric medicine. Dr. Park is certified in veterinary acupuncture and also has a certificate in aquatic pathobiology. She’s pictured here with her dog Miles.