Vet clinic takes extra safety precautions amid pandemic

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Your pets are oblivious to this pandemic we're living in. So just like our medical care hasn't stopped during this time, neither has theirs.

During this pandemic, the Animal Medical Clinic will deliver pet food and medications to clients curbside so people don't have to go inside the building. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

The Animal Medical Clinic in Grand Island has been up and running the duration of the pandemic. But operations look a bit different than normal.

For more than two months, no two-legged clients have been allowed inside the building. There are exceptions for serious cases and euthanasias.

Instead, a staff member wearing a mask will pick up your pet outside in the parking lot.

Dogs will be brought inside on a slip leash, and cats need to be in a carrier.

Employees will also deliver any pet food or medications curbside.

"I've had a lot of emergency calls during the COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone's been really great to work with," said Dr. Melissa Girard-Lemons, owner and veterinarian at the Animal Medical Clinic. "They've been really grateful that there's someone available 24 hours a day. We've adapted, because we had to."

The clinic has been able to provide emergency services, urgent care and some routine treatment during the pandemic.

Since May 4, they've been able to do routine surgeries again.

Once the appointment is finished, the clinic will call the owners to let them know how everything went, and if further treatment is needed.

Less face to face communication has been an additional challenge.

"We haven't been able to visit with the clients, and be able to spend the time and do that one to one. Haven't been able to show them the x-rays, go over the things. I've done a lot of emailing of results and things that I would normally sit down and go over with them in the room," Girard-Lemons said.

She said the clinic sees anywhere from 50 to 70 small animals a day. That volume did slow down at the start of the pandemic, but quickly picked up again.

Although the phone lines are busier than normal, Girard-Lemons said things are running fairly smoothly.

"People come first, and in my world animals come second," Girard-Lemons said. "We're just grateful that we can still be here doing what we love, and taking care of the pets that mean so much to us."

The clinic will continue curbside pickup and extra safety precautions for the foreseeable future so they can continue pet care and keep everyone safe.