NEW YORK (1010 WINS) The animals are allowed in but the humans are not. That’s the scene at New York City’s longest serving 24/7 emergency animal hospital.
The Animal Medical Center on East 62nd street in Manhattan has put in place new protocols in light of the coronavirus pandemic which include allowing only pets in the building to maintain human social distancing. In fact, pet owners must wait in heated tents in the parking lot while their animals are seen by hospital personnel inside.
“We’re currently seeing all cases that need care and are following New York State Veterinary Medical Association’s guidelines”, AMC CEO Kate Coyne told 1010 WINS. Owners are encouraged to call in advance to determine whether or not your animal should be brought into the hospital, but if your pet is having an emergency, you do not need to call ahead.
That included me, on Monday, March 23rd when my epileptic cat Cheeks suffered a seizure. I ran him to the hospital and was met by a fully suited up team wearing gowns, gloves, masks and even shower caps. Pet owners were instructed to stay six feet apart and stable animals were sent with their owner to the tent. When I said “my cat is having a seizure”, however, we were whisked into the lobby and within about 20 seconds, my cat was upstairs. Communication with the ER took place by phone, and I’m pleased to report that Cheeky-poo is fine (see photo).
AMC has hotlines set up for both pet parents (212-329-8608) to determine if your pet needs to come in, and for Veterinarians (212-329-8616). In addition, they’re launching a telemedicine program in which you can talk to a doctor via Zoom or FaceTime.
While they’re not taking appointments for wellness exams, oncology, cardiology and other critical services are still available. “If you’ve got an animal in the middle of chemotherapy treatment we have to do those,” Coyne told 1010 WINS. “We can’t put those off, because the outcome would be poor.” The same goes for radiation, ecocardiograms and other treatments and diagnostics.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there concerning COVID-19 and pets. Coyne says experts and multiple intenational and domestic organizations agree that there is no evidence that pets can become infected and spread it to other animals including people. Those include the CDC, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization.
“But, if a person tests positive and they have a pet,” Coyne told 1010 WINS, “there are precautions they should take. The recommendations are to restrict your contact with your pet just like you would with other people. Avoid direct contact with your pet including petting and snuggling, all things we love to do, kissing and putting them in bed with us.” If possible, experts suggest having someone else care for your pet until you recover. Also, don’t share food and avoid sneezing or coughing around your animal. If possible, experts suggest having someone else care for your pet until you recover.