BUSINESS AS USUAL: Considered an essential service, veterinary clinics in Stanthorpe will operate as normal, adhering to the social distancing rules.
BUSINESS AS USUAL: Considered an essential service, veterinary clinics in Stanthorpe will operate as normal, adhering to the social distancing rules.

Stanthorpe vets prioritise protection of pets

PETS are still and always will be the priority for veterinary clinics in the Granite Belt despite serious workflow changes for at least two of the region's practices.

Southern Downs Veterinary Services owner Glynn Rigden said the social distancing restrictions triggered by the coronavirus pandemic have completely turned the workflow of his practice upside down.

"Our service is still operating as normal but we have had to reconfigure everything to accommodate the social distancing rules," Dr Rigden said.

He said while pets can't contract coronavirus, they can still transfer the virus.

"In relation to coronavirus and pets getting it, our current understanding is no, they cannot," Dr Rigden said.

"If however a person sneezed or coughed on their pet, the virus can sit on that surface for several hours.

"The risk is no higher than somebody coughing or sneezing on a calculator.

"Both are objects and both can transfer the virus from person to person."

Queensland veterinarian educator Courtney Liddy agreed with Dr Rigden, suggesting those with confirmed cases of Covid-19 avoid interactions with their pets.

"The recommendation for humans that develop Covid-19 is that they do not have close association with their animals," she said.

"Human to animal spread is so far rare but coronaviruses are highly contagious and any virus can mutate and jump species - our close association with animals is more of the issue."

Although an animal contracting coronavirus it is highly unlikely, Ms Liddy recommended seeking veterinary assistance if any domestic pets display symptoms.

"Animals showing symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea should always be assessed by a vet," she said.

Stanthorpe Vet Care Services registered veterinary nurse Zoe Moore said the social distancing laws have doubled the demand on their clinic.

"We have split the team into two just in case any employees have been exposed to a confirmed case," she said.

"This limits the risk of spreading the virus throughout the practice."

Empty waiting rooms and counter sales through the window are among the operational changes at the practice but Ms Moore said that didn't alter the service provided.

"We are still operating as normal. I don't want owners concerned that we can't look after their pet," she said.

"We are still here to any service your pet needs."