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Governor’s order allows for telemedicine for veterinarians

Animals and Wildlife

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Social distancing has led to more things happening over the phone and internet. That now includes trips to the vet.

To reduce our in-person interactions, a lot of people are using telemedicine to see a doctor when we are sick. But what if you’re not a person? In the latest executive order, Governor Lamont encouraged telemedicine for seeing a veterinarian, too.

Related: Can I get the coronavirus from my pet?

Veterinarians are essential workers and they are seeing patients, but even before the pandemic, Dr. Michelle Forella was diagnosing some things over the phone.

“Since the Covid pandemic has come about there has been increasing interest in using all the different utilities of telemedicine,” Forella said.

And now it is part of Governor Lamont’s latest executive order. It was already legal.

“What this does is it puts a framework around it, gives the green light to those who weren’t doing it to know that it’s okay to do it,” said State Rep. Dorinda Borer (D-West Haven).

Borer is a dog lover, and she was working on a bipartisan veterinary telemedicine bill with Republican State Representative Dr. William Petit back in January. Now it’s at least temporarily the law.

“That’s another way to keep pet owners home, but it also reduces the risk to the veterinarian and the staff in the office, because it’s less exposure,” Borer said.

It also reduces the exposure of animals to other animals. Several tigers at the Bronx Zoo have already gotten the coronavirus, as have two house cats in New York State.

Related: 2 cats in NY state test positive for virus

“There have been some animals that have tested positive for Covid-19,” said Dr. Forella. “There has been some research coming out that maybe cats and ferrets are a little bit more susceptible.”

There is no evidence that animals can pass it to people, and it is unclear whether animals can pass Covid-19 to other animals.

For a virtual vet visit, you need to have an existing relationship with the doctor, and only certain things can be diagnosed over a phone or computer.

“Looking at skin issues, rashes, problems being itchy, ear problems, a mild limp, some mild gastro-intestinal symptoms,” said Forella.

For more serious problems, you should take you pet to the vet in person. Since we are still not sure whether people can give Covid-19 to their pets, Dr. Forella says if you get sick, its best to let someone else care look after your cat.

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