Lincoln animal clinic turns to curbside appointments for pets

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - When it comes to caring for your pets during this crisis, Lincoln veterinarians haven't stopped their work. The CDC says there is no evidence showing that pets can spread COVID-19, but clinics are still taking steps to keep you safe.

A staff member will walk out to the vehicle and gather a brief history of the animal and its problems. (SOURCE: KOLN)

Clock Tower Animal Clinic has been taking care of pets in Lincoln for nearly 50 years. About two weeks ago, they closed their lobby doors and began taking curbside appointments so clients didn't have to leave their cars.

Their focus right now, making sure pet owners don't lose access to proper vet care.

How it works is simple.

Clients are instructed to stay in their vehicle and call the clinic when they arrive. A staff member will walk out to the vehicle and gather a brief history of the animal and its problems. Pets will then be taken inside the clinic for evaluation and exams. Once that's over, a staff member will deliver the pet back to the owner in their vehicle.

"[Pets] are so much a part of our families and our lives that you can't look at them and not get them help if they need help. So, I guess all I can say is when you've had a pet, you understand that bond. You understand why it's so important you take care of them," says Dr. Kristen Schlenker, veterinarian At Clock Tower Animal Clinic.

When you look through the glass doors at the animal clinic, you'll see staff wearing masks, even when not working directly with animals. This measure was taken when the clinic started doing their curbside services for pets.

Only pets experiencing crucial health issues will be seen at this time. This includes any problems that should not persist in the next 30 days, like ear infections or if your pet stops eating or drinking.

"If it's a new puppy that needs it's first round of vaccines, we think vaccines are important. That's something that we don't want: a puppy out there [not] vaccinated for 2-3 months. If we can get them in and get that done, that's something that we can do," Dr. Schlenker tells 10/11.

If a pet requires treatment taking longer than a normal appointment time, such as x-rays or blood work, clients will be called back to the clinic and do not have to wait at the clinic the entire time.

Clock Tower Animal Clinic is also offering telemedicine consultations for certain situations.

Dr. Schlenker says clients have been both patient and extremely grateful that they're still able to care for animals who can't care for themselves.

With new directed health measures in place by Governor Ricketts, elective procedures are not to be performed by veterinarians. They are also urged to donate personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks and gowns to Lincoln health departments and hospitals.