Written by Rosie Gao, B.Sc.
As a lifelong pet owner, I see and understand the anxieties and guilt that come with a pet’s sudden decline in health- and the need for a vet visit. Navigating pet care during COVID-19 can be even more difficult. Now more than ever, we need to plan ahead for our pets’ health care needs, and what to do if a vet visit is required when we can’t bring them there.
What if the only regular check up appointment slots are during the day, when you may need to be at work or at home guiding your child through virtual learning? What if your large, heavy, senior dog is suddenly unable to walk, and carrying him proves unsafe or impossible? What if you are isolating in a senior care center, and you need help sending your cat to their regular veterinarian?
Or, in more advanced cases, what if your pet needs to be transported from their regular vet to the referral hospital for overnight or specialty care? If they need monitoring, oxygen, fluids, or drug therapy administered during their transport? Wouldn’t you like to know that an option exists for a Registered Veterinary Technician to accompany your beloved companion on their trip, comforting them and ready to provide medical assistance to ensure the safest travels when they need it most?
These are just some of the cases that we have seen in just the few months that we have been in service since the pandemic first began. Until now, there has never been a service like ours in the Greater Toronto Area. We are grateful to be able to help pets and their owners access their veterinarians when they otherwise might not have been able. I am grateful for my compassionate, professional, and knowledgeable team who care for each pet, no matter the species or condition, as if it were their own. Care is taken to ensure before each transport that we have enough towels and blankets, and pee pads if the pets have a little “accident” along the way. The heating and air conditioning kicks on well before the pets enter the back of the vehicle, a refurbished ambulance that has been fitted for animal transport. Along the way, we adjust the lighting and temperatures and sit with the pet to ensure they are comforted, speaking to them in reassuring tones and offering plenty of pats. Sometimes the pet enters the ambulance healthy, bright, and in a carrier or on a leash, ready for their regular check up. Sometimes they require the ramp, and other times the stretcher and gurney. Sometimes they are anesthetized, intubated, and hooked up to IV fluids and oxygen flow which need to be maintained and monitored until the pet reaches the referral hospital. No two cases are alike, but the goal is always the same- the smoothest possible transport, with the best possible care to the pet in our charge.
So, Where Does COVID Factor In?
COVID-19 has changed the way veterinarians engage with pet owners. For most veterinary clinics, pet owners are required to wait in their vehicles outside the hospital and are informed on the status of their pet by phone. Wait times can be very uncertain, as demands have increased on many veterinary service providers. This is exacerbated by the approach of winter and adverse weather conditions. To mitigate these stresses associated with veterinary access, simply book a return trip with us and let us shuttle your pet to and from their appointment. We will let you know when your pet has safely reached their veterinarian and make arrangements for the return trip when your loved one is ready to come back home- saving you stress and endless hours of waiting.
If you or someone in your household has recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 and leaving home with your pets is not an option, if you are in isolation for any reason, your pets may still be able to make that appointment. Our team of specialized RVTs and ACAs are prepared to offer contactless curbside and apartment hallway pick ups of pets in accordance with safety & social distancing protocols.
- Personal Protective Equipment on board
- Sanitizing equipment on board
- Minimum 2 meters between all staff and clients
- Virtual service requests
- Contactless payment
- Contactless virtual waiver
- Contactless pickup and drop off
- Pets transported only- no owners on board
- Single pet transports
- Sanitizing vehicle space and onboard equipment on drop off and pick up
- Contact tracing
We have all had to make compromises in our lives this year- pet care shouldn’t have to be one of them. As our society continues to adapt to deal with the social, economical, and environmental impact of the pandemic, we are here for you and your pets.
Toronto Animal Mobility Services is a professional, veterinary-trained pet transport service that helps pet owners get their pets to and from their vet appointments across the Greater Toronto Area. We are available Mondays to Fridays, from 7 AM to 8 PM, and are equipped to handle pets from moderate to serious clinical needs. We understand that veterinary visits can be stressful and are here to mitigate some of that stress while providing the best possible care to your companions during transit.