The COVID-19 crisis saw the onset of many necessary rules and restrictions and veterinary clinics were certainly not immune. Ensuring the safety of staff and the public while still trying to provide healthcare for your kitty clients is no mean feat. However, teamwork, technology and the support of the public have made the transition easier for the team at Killarney Cat Hospital. We caught up with Killarney vet Dr. Tayler Belosowsky to discuss how the last few months have been.

What have been the main changes that Killarney had to make following the COVID-19 shutdown in Calgary?

We have implemented a closed-door policy, meaning that clients are no longer able to enter the building. We have a table outside that serves as an exchange spot for kitties, food, medication, etc. We have been limiting the number of cats that enter the clinic by only seeing medically necessary cases, such as sick cats or emergencies. We have also started to see cases via telemedicine (online messaging, phone calls and video chats).

How did these changes affect your day-to-day routine?

Our phones are busy! By not allowing clients in the building, all communication is done over the phone: appointments, medication refills, food pick-ups, everything! This method of communication takes a lot longer. Therefore we have had to extend our appointment times to allow for multiple phone calls to the owners. We have also had to decrease our hours so that all staff is working at the same time – we need all hands on deck during these busy times!

What has the public response been like to the new measures?

Our clients have been fantastic! We know it is difficult for owners to drop their cats off at the door and not come in to appointments with them, but everyone has been very understanding. They have also shown a great deal of patience with our phone lines, as due to a huge increase in phone calls we have had longer hold times and more calls going straight to voicemail.

Have you seen an increase / decrease in any particular types of cases there in these recent months?

We have been seeing an increase in stress-related cases such as inappropriate urination, aggression, blocked cats, etc. Many kitties get stressed with change and there has sure been a lot of change lately! They can also feed off of their humans’ stress, so this didn’t come as a huge surprise. Otherwise we haven’t noticed too many changes in the types of cases coming in.

Are there any little things that help to keep you and also, the rest of the team, going during this uncertain and difficult times?

We are very lucky to have such a great team at Killarney that supports each other and works well together. That has made all of the changes a lot easier to deal with. Personally, I have found going for a walk or run in the sunshine at lunch has been really helpful to give me a boost half way through the day. It is also motivating to hear appreciation from clients and see improvement in their sweet cats after treatment.