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Dr. Duke Blog

Friends, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all, and how we approach delivery of veterinary care has been no exception.  Like many institutions, veterinary medicine, while deemed an essential service in all states, has at the same time been bound to guidelines which include social distancing and personal protection measures.

Many of you that have been served by us at Bienville AMC over the past month have noted our change to not only curbside service, but also split shifts to accommodate the workload while protecting our staff.  While we realize these are not perfect business solutions, they do provide the most optimal solutions when it comes to public health and safety in these challenging times.

One area in particular that has been adversely affected has been our overloaded telephone lines, which must be used for not only appointment making and medical inquiries, but for constant checking in and checking out by our clients and patients being served.  We simply ask your patience regarding our communication systems during this time of challenge.  Things will get better.

We have been asked, “how much longer will you operate like this”?  We are following the guidelines suggested not only by our governor, but our other state and local officials and the MVMA.  Our leadership team is meeting regularly to discuss the circumstances and adjust to the recommendations as new information comes to light.  As for staying in our current practice mode versus going back to a fully staffed schedule, we are planning week-to-week.    

We are also limiting some elective services for now, mainly because of lack of schedule availability and support staff to carry out all services.  Medical and surgical urgent cases receive top priority, while we are building in the elective services as the schedule allows.  As for refills on medications, follow-up laboratory tests and so forth, we are happy to provide these-although curbside for now.  Just call us when you need something and we’ll deliver to you curbside.

As for when we can literally open our waiting room doors like we used to, that is once again up to our elected officials.   Believe me, our leadership team yearns for “normalcy”, but also understands and respects the balance between protection of our clients and staff versus traditional commerce.  At this point, we must keep the number of people in a given space like our waiting to under 10 people, with six-foot social distancing.  This is simply not possible at this time.

In the meantime, please keep praying for our health care providers on the human side of medicine, our first responders and our elected officials who carry the burdens of making these difficult decisions.  And most of all, keep praying for the end of this COVID-19 pandemic.       

Dr. Chris Duke
President, American Heartworm Society 
Member, American Society of Veterinary Journalists
Founder, Co-owner, Bienville Animal Medical Center
Ocean Springs, MS