During the height of the COVID pandemic, many businesses changed their practices to keep their staff and customers safe. One of the practices that affected most of our valued customers was interacting with a "curbside” vet. Many of us were uncomfortable with not accompanying our precious pets into the clinic. Additionally, it’s important to pass the correct information to the medical professional who came out to the car to get our babies. Finally, when the vet called to discuss what was going on, we needed to ensure we asked the right questions while we had them on the phone. The entire process is very stressful for hooman and fur/feather babies! After reflecting on our own experiences curbside, the Small Pet Select Staff thought sharing a guide might help. But first…a story.
A Strong Back Kick
In 2011, when I moved back to Colorado Springs, my two dogs and kitty joined a blended family. We moved in with my then-fiancé, Steve, and his dog and cat. Piece of cake, right? Golden, my husband’s cat, was particularly pissed to have another feline in her space. In fact, unbeknownst to us, her “welcome to the neighborhood” gift was a back kick to Sydney's flank. The night before I started working, we noticed a nice lump on Syd's right side. I quickly realized I would probably be late on my first day because Syd needed veterinary care.
The good news was that our vet was the same vet we had when we lived here before. Also, I’d already dropped off my furries’ updated medical records, so they knew we were back.
The next morning, I called when they opened at 7 AM. Fortunately, they could work her into the schedule and asked if I could drop her off. Of course, I could, and lucky for me, it was also on my way to work.
Being the attentive-to-detail nerd I am, I typed up a note for the vet discussing everything going on with my sweet Sydderoo. It might have been a bit long 😆. Shortly after I got to work, our vet called and said she had an abscess where Golden kicked her. He put a drain in to get the infection out and sent us home with antibiotics and the cone of shame. Poor Syd.
Curbside Vet Service Isn’t New
If you’re wondering why I told you that story… I bet most of you dropped your babies off curbside at some point before the pandemic. It now has a fancy name, but I know every vet I’ve used offered it.
The Stress Isn’t New Either
Unfortunately, one of the reasons I’ve used curbside vet service is because something unexpected happened to one of my furbabies requiring an acute appointment. The other reason is that something essential came up, and I needed to drop them off to get medical care. Honestly, I really thought I was going to have to use curbside vet service this morning. My cats (yes, I claim Golden) and my mini poodle had a routine appointment this morning. Unfortunately, a family member had a pop-up acute medical appointment. Steve and I were trying to divide and conquer today's schedule. And there's this thing called “work” we’re supposed to be doing as well. Fortunately, we got it all worked out, and I was with them at the vet. I know my crew, other than Golden, loves going to the vet. They get lots of love and T-R-E-A-T-S. We also adore the staff there and have no qualms leaving them there. However, that’s not the case for everyone, both two-legged and four-legged.
Curbside Vet Service Tips
Even after having furries for my entire adult life, I still get stressed when they aren’t feeling well. Therefore, I do my best to follow these tips when dropping them off.
The Golden Rule
Always be mindful to treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself. Veterinary practices have continued to provide care for our pets throughout the pandemic so please don't shout or get cross if they are running little late Curbside service is stressful for your trusted vet staff as well. Help them help you.
Ask your vet for guidance
Your trusted vet may have a form they’d like you to use or a specific format.
Prep notes for the staff
While Belinda doesn't mind going to the vet, I'm pawsitive; many of your pets would tell the vet "they feel fine." Just in case your babies decide to pipe up, you should have something to hand to the staff curbside. If you're wondering what to write, my favorite method is the Who, What, Where, Why, and How.
- Easy to read: Use concise sentences, phrases, bullets, and lots of line breaks.
- Clear questions/concerns: If there’s anything you want specifically addressed, make that clear to the staff in your note.
- Here's your sign: Need to share anything super-duper important such as mobility issues? Tape a sign to the outside of the carrier.
Use a log or a timeline
For you rabbit pawrents out there, logs really come in handy, especially during bouts of GI stasis.
Here are the notes I had prepped for this morning’s annual wellness exams for the cats:
- Doing well on compounded oral steroids and gabapentin. Boosted steroids to .45 ml 1x daily.
- Gained weight, probably from boosting steroids.
- Healthy appetite except for some days she will only eat breakfast and dinner. Then other days, she will binge and ask for food every 30-60 minutes. I just give her whatever she asks for.
- Pretty much stays in our bedroom. Goes from the bed in her crate to her bed on top of the dresser (still jumps!) to the litterbox and water bowl.
- When she walks, her back legs thump. I will text you a video.
- Poops every other day. Pee looks normal.
- Still eating prescription dry food (2/3) mixed with canned cat food (1/3) to get her to eat the prescription stuff.
- Lost weight but has improved her agility. Told Steve he can’t call her fat cat anymore.
- Poops every other day. Pee looks normal.
- Needs 6-month senior blood panel to check CKD (cat kidney disease).
Also, here is a sample of the log I use when my rabbits have GI stasis:
I’m happy to report that Golden and Syd have a civil relationship now. This isn't the best quality photo, but they co-exist peacefully.
We hope you enjoyed our tips for interacting with your curbside vet. However, we’d love to hear your keys to success, too! Please comment on our socials or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for updates to this blog that include your ideas.
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