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ST FRANCIS: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS



Thank you for all of your support, gratitude and partnership over these past months. We too long for normalcy, but if we have to continue to negotiate these challenging times, we are incredibly grateful to do so with each of you.

We wanted to take this opportunity to share some questions and answers with all of you. We have structured this section to reflect the questions that we’ve heard voiced by you.

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"We miss seeing you. When can we come back into the building with our pets?"

We truly miss you too. We miss showing you our exam findings in person, talking with you one-on-one, and sharing stories, laughter, and tears. Unfortunately, with the current pandemic trends, it will likely be awhile before any of this is possible.

Businesses must remain at 50% capacity. Because we have a small physical space, this requirement limits us to fewer than 19 people in the building. On any given day, we meet those limits with our veterinary team alone. In addition, physical distancing is very challenging in our exam rooms.

Curbside service has become the standard of care across the veterinary industry. Our curbside care continues to evolve and we hope that you find that we are delivering the very best care possible for you and your pets under these unusual circumstances.

"My pet will need an appointment in August. How does this curbside service work?"

  • Prior to your appointment, we will send you a curbside history form to fill out in advance. This will allow you to share your concerns with the veterinarian.
  • When you arrive for your visit, park in a designated parking space and call the Appointment Line. This will provide you with a direct line to our concierge team.
  • When the doctor is ready, a veterinary assistant will retrieve your pet. You can help by making your carrier readily accessible or by stepping your dog out of the car. For dogs, we ask that you to help us add a second leash, and if your dog requires a muzzle, that you place this before we bring him or her into the building.
  • It is very important that you provide us with a cell phone number that you will be reachable at. The veterinarian will call you to discuss your pet's examination findings and treatment recommendations.
  • A member of our veterinary team will follow up with you to complete the check out process and take payment over the phone. We will then return your pet, paperwork, and any food, medications or products to your car. We ask that you remain in the parking lot during these appointments so that we can complete this process as quickly as possible.

"Why does my dog need two leashes?"

We are near a very busy road. We’ve seen dogs slip out of their collars or harnesses. In order to prevent this from happening to your pet, we require every dog to have two leashes. Every cat or small mammal should be transported in a carrier.

"I need to pick up medications. What can I expect?"

We are offering a contactless delivery of all medications, food, and products.

  • Please request all medication or food refills at least 24-48 hours in advance via voicemail, email, PetDesk, or our website. When feasible, we ask that you pay in advance.
  • When you arrive, park in a designated parking space and call the Curbside Pick Up Line. This will provide you with a direct line to our concierge team.
  • If needed, we will take your payment over the phone, then bring your food, medications or products out to the bin associated with your parking space. If you are picking up a controlled substance, we will ask you to leave your ID on the table for us to review.

If you would prefer to order your medications online, you may access our Vetsource online store via our website at www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com.

"Can I use the restroom while I wait?"

We do not have a public restroom available, but there is one available at the laundromat next door to St Francis. If needed, you may leave the parking lot temporarily to use the restroom.

"Do we need to wear masks at St Francis?"

We do ask that you wear a mask when interacting with our team members, even when you are outside in the parking lot. In order for us to continue to be here to care for your pets, we need our team to remain healthy. All of our team members are wearing masks at all times.

"We have had a lot of difficulty reaching you on the phone. Why?"

Our call volume has been extraordinary during COVID-19. On most days, we are averaging 900-1200 phone calls per day. While we are doing our best to answer these calls, it is not possible to answer all of them. At any given moment, we may all be caring for a patient or helping another client.

We now have a phone tree that will allow you to access our contact information, directions, and hours; leave a message with a refill request, leave a message for an appointment request; or leave a general message. You will also have the option to stay in the call queue, or in the case of a life-threatening emergency for your pet, be connected directly to an emergency facility.

We have two cell phones specifically for our curbside service. One cell phone is dedicated to those who are in the parking lot checking in for an appointment, while the other is for those who have arrived to pick up a pet, medications, or food. It is best to call the appropriate cell phone line rather than the main line when you arrive in our parking lot.

"If we have a question, need a medication refilled, or want to schedule an appointment, are there other ways that we can reach you?"

Yes! You may request medication refills or appointments by clicking the appropriate buttons on our website. For patient updates, non-critical questions, refill requests, or appointment requests, feel free to email us at group@stfrancisabh.com or leave a voicemail at (651) 645-2808. If you have not yet downloaded the PetDesk app, this is another excellent way to schedule appointments, request refills, or review your pet’s vaccine history.

"We have a very difficult time getting an appointment. Is your schedule really booked out four weeks?"

Yes, it is. At this time, our first available routine appointment is August 27th. With COVID-19, the veterinary industry has seen an unprecedented surge in the request for appointments. Many pet owners are home with their pets and noticing abnormalities. Some pets are more active with their owners and may therefore be more prone to injuries. Many new pets are being adopted during this time.

If you are scheduling your pet’s wellness or vaccine visit, we will schedule the visit at or near the due date to allow more immediate space for pets with urgent needs. For pets with urgent medical conditions, we are holding a subset of our appointments for urgent care visits. Lastly, we are reserving all of our appointments for existing clients; we are not accepting any new clients at this time so that we can offer the best care possible for our existing patients.

"My pet had an emergency and I was told to go to the emergency/urgent care facility. Why wouldn’t you see my pet?"

Veterinary medicine is similar to human medicine. You see your family practice physician for your preventative care and most ailments, but sometimes you need to visit an urgent care facility or an emergency department, either because of the nature of your illness, the immediacy of your needs, or the hours during which you need care. The same is true for veterinary care for your pets.

For some emergency conditions, your pet requires more advanced care, monitoring, or specialized equipment than we are able to provide in general practice. Examples include patients with respiratory distress, heat stroke, status epilepticus or prolonged seizures, acute trauma, urinary obstruction, bloat, or gastric dilation volvulus (GDV). These patients will be directed to an emergency care facility.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for veterinary practices. Our caseloads are much higher, curbside appointments take longer, and we may have staff or doctor shortages that limit the care that we are able to provide to our patients. While we try to see as many of our own patients for urgent care or medical needs as possible, we are often exceeding our capacity. We always have the patient’s best interest in mind. If we do not feel that we have the ability to provide the care that your pet needs, we will recommend that you go to an urgent care or emergency facility instead.

We know that going elsewhere with a sick pet is scary. We understand that you just want to come to St Francis. Know that we work closely with the Animal Emergency & Referral Center in Oakdale (651-501-3766) (www.aercmn.com), Como Park After Hours (651-487-3255), the University of Minnesota (612-626-8387) and Blue Pearl in Blaine (763-754-5000) to serve as extensions of St Francis. We trust their teams to provide the care your pet needs when we cannot. Afterwards, we will receive a comprehensive report and will follow up with you. We always want what is best for your pet, and sometimes the best care at that moment is at one of these locations.

"We tried to go to an urgent care facility, but the wait was going to be three hours. Why?"

All veterinary practices are in the same situation. We are all struggling to meet the patient care demands before us. If we need to refer you to an urgent care facility, we will email you a list of our recommended urgent care facilities for you to contact in advance. At any given moment, one facility may have long wait times while others have more availability.

"Why don’t you just hire more people to take care of our pets, answer the phones, or fill our pets’ medications?"

During the past four months, we are so grateful to have hired a veterinarian, Dr. Megan Schommer; two veterinary technicians, Jessie Pudil, CVT and Mickayla Schulz, CVT; a veterinary assistant, Lillian Schmitz; and a client service representative, Stacy Gustafson.

We would love to expand our team during this time. However, in addition to the staffing crisis that the veterinary industry has been experiencing for the past several years, COVID-19 has created additional challenges. We have a very small facility, and in the State of Minnesota, we are restricted to 50% capacity indoors. We are currently at our capacity. To help meet your needs, we have an additional team of veterinary technicians working remotely. You will find them answering your voicemails, PetDesk requests, and emails from their homes.

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We hope this provides some answers to the questions you’ve voiced. Thank you again to everyone who provided us with insight and advice and who provided honest feedback as we’ve adjusted our protocols throughout these months. We are so fortunate to have amazing partnerships with all of you in the care of your loved ones, now more than ever. We are always striving to improve and be the very best that we can be. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to us at group@stfrancisabh.com or (651) 645-2808.

NEWS BRIEFS

St Francis Closures

We will be closed for a staff meeting on Wednesday August 26th from 1:00-2:30 pm. We will be closed Friday September 4th through Monday September 7th for our staff to enjoy a long weekend with their families for Labor Day.

Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite

Thank you to everyone who voted for us as your Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite. We are honored to be your neighborhood favorite!

Vaccines

We are now offering combination vaccines for our canine patients in addition to our feline patients. If your dog is due for multiple vaccines, we now have a Lyme + Leptospirosis vaccine and a DAPP + Lyme + Leptospirosis vaccine. Everyone is happier with fewer injections!

COVID-19: ST FRANCIS UPDATES

june 2020

Thank you for continuing to help us provide excellent curbside service. I think we are all settling in to these new normal protocols. Based on current recommendations, we anticipate that our curbside service will continue for an extended period. For additional information about our curbside service, please visit our website at www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com or our Facebook page.

Important Reminders

  • We are asking that you wear a face mask or covering for all interactions with our team members. We commit to doing the same. We all need to remain healthy in order to continue to provide care for your pets.
  • For most appointments with a veterinarian, you will receive a Curbside History Form by email in advance. Please complete and submit this form to us prior to your pet’s visit.
  • When you arrive in the parking lot, the signs will direct you to call or text either the Appointment Line or the Curbside Pick Up Line. These are dedicated lines to our concierge team. If we are on the line, you are welcome to leave a message or dial the main line at (651) 645-2808. These cell phones will only be answered during business hours.
  • When we are ready to retrieve your pet, please take your pet out of the car for ease of transfer to our veterinary team. For dogs, we ask that you help us add a second leash for safety moving to and from the building. If your dog is nervous, we may ask you to walk to the building with us.
  • Provide a phone number that you will be reachable at while you are waiting in the parking lot.
  • It is very important that you do not leave the parking lot. In order for us to see as many patients as possible in these conditions, we need to be able to return your pet to you as soon as we’ve finished.
  • We have reopened for business on Saturdays from 8 am to 12:30 pm, but are only staffed to provide wellness care. Patients with medical conditions will be scheduled for a weekday appointment or will be directed to an urgent care facility.
  • Our technician appointments are in high demand to meet the medical needs of our patients (i.e. vaccines, fluid therapy, medical treatments). We recommend scheduling grooming procedures such as nail trims with a local groomer unless your pet requires grooming by a medical professional. Grooming appointments at St Francis are currently booking out up to 4 weeks.

We want to take this moment to express our gratitude to all of you. We say every day that we have the very best clients and patients. If we have to negotiate the craziness of this year, we are grateful to do so with all of you.

EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: AMANDA MALLEK

Each month, we will spotlight one of our team members in order of years of service at St Francis Animal Hospital.

Amanda joined St Francis Animal Hospital as a Veterinary Assistant in April 2018. She graduated in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. She is currently enrolled at Penn Foster College in order to obtain an Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology. From here, she plans to take the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT).

In addition to her veterinary assistant duties, she has taken on many veterinary technician responsibilities and serves as our Inventory Manager.

In her free time, she loves traveling, painting, exercising, spending time with friends and family and taking care of her cat, Sonny.

Why do you love being a veterinary assistant?

What I enjoy most about being a veterinary assistant is having the opportunity to help both people and animals and being able to assist the doctors and technicians in getting animals back to living the healthiest lives they can. It brings me joy to help provide a safe and friendly environment for your loved ones.

Why do you love working at St Francis Animal Hospital?

I am happy to be a part of a clinic that cares about the individual owners just as much as their pets. Every employee I have the privilege of working with offers excellent service by forming close relationships with clients. They all truly care about the families that walk through the front doors of the clinic. St Francis also offers a wide range of care that is not available to other clinics such as acupuncture and massage therapy. For me, being able to observe and learn so much every day is rewarding!

COVID-19 AND PETS

On May 27th, a cat in Carver County Minnesota was confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. This patient presented to the veterinary clinic with respiratory signs and a high fever. The owners of the cat were confirmed to be positive for COVID-19. Five days after beginning supportive therapy, the cat recovered. The dog in the household remained healthy.

Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is primarily from person to person. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. However, in rare cases, it appears that humans can spread the virus to pets. Routine testing of asymptomatic pets is not recommended at this time. Pets with atypical respiratory symptoms and exposure to humans with confirmed COVID-19 infection may be tested for SARS-CoV-2 under the guidance of Minnesota State Animal Health officials.

If you are sick with COVID-19, either suspected or confirmed by a test, the CDC recommends restricting contact with pets. When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets if you are ill. Avoid close contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, kissing, or sharing food or bedding with them while you are ill. If you must care for your pet while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them and wear a mask or cloth face covering.

Until we know more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other family members to prevent them from getting infected. Limit interactions with people and animals outside the household, walk dogs on a leash to maintain a 6 ft distance from others, avoid large gathering places, and keep cats indoors.

NEWS BRIEFS

PetDesk

If you are scheduling your pet’s appointment through the PetDesk app, you should receive a confirmation that your pet’s appointment has been confirmed. If you do not receive that confirmation, the visit is not yet confirmed in our appointment calendar. If you have questions about the scheduling process, please reach out to us at (651) 645-2808.

Community Involvement

St Francis Animal Hospital donated groceries to those in need at Seward Montessori. In addition, our team has been active across the city, donating money, groceries, and supplies to sites in the North Loop, Seward, Sanford Middle School, and Longfellow Park; contributing to the Lake Street Council; helping to clean up businesses on Lake Street; volunteering time and resources to the Holy Trinity Church; and helping with pet food shelves through the Street Dog Coalition and People & Pets Together. Please join us in helping our communities through these difficult days.

Upcoming Events

Street Dog Coalition Food Shelf

On Saturday, June 13th, 12:30 to 2:30 pm, St Francis will host the Street Dog Coalition Food Shelf. If you or someone you know is facing hardship and is in need of dog food, please stop by our food shelf. Distribution will be on a first come first served basis and will be limited to dog food. Additional donations are not needed at this time.

Animal Emergency & Referral Center Oakdale

The Animal Emergency & Referral Center in Oakdale is taking donations for personal items including toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, lotion, soap, body wash, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, diapers, baby wipes, diaper cream, and baby formula. Items may be placed in the brown bin to the west of their main entrance. You may also shop using their Amazon Wish List: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/MTORQHG2KHLF/ref=hz_ls_biz_ex.

Location: 1163 Helmo Ave N Oakdale MN
Phone: (651) 501-3766



As we have for the past nine weeks, we continue to monitor the conditions across the country and adjust our protocols to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the MN Department of Health; the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine; and other local, state, and federal agencies. As community restrictions are lifted, our individual risk of infection increases, and it is essential that we do our part to keep our employees, clients, and patients as safe as possible.

Due to our small physical space and the need for social distancing, we anticipate that our curbside service will continue until at least June 30th. All appointments, including acupuncture and laser appointments, will be at the main St Francis location. For more information about our curbside service, please visit our website at www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com or our Facebook page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in two pet cats in New York and a Pug in North Carolina. Previously, the virus had been detected in a handful of other animals around the world.

The CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have worked together to provide guidance regarding the risks to pets. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. However, in rare cases, it appears that humans can spread the virus to pets.

If you are sick with COVID-19, either suspected or confirmed by a test, the CDC recommends restricting contact with pets. When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets if you are ill. Avoid close contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, kissing, or sharing food or bedding with them while you are ill. If you must care for your pet while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them and wear a mask or cloth face covering.

COVID-19 Updates



As we prepare for an extension of our stay-at-home orders, we wanted to reach out to you to share how we are still caring for the pets in our community. As you’ve seen throughout these past weeks, we continue to monitor the current conditions and adjust to find the balance between providing exceptional care for your loved ones and keeping our employees and clients healthy.

As we are all settling into our new routines, we wanted to reach out to you to assure you that we are still here to care for your four-legged family members. We are continuously monitoring the current conditions and adjusting our protocols to keep our employees and clients healthy while still providing the exceptional patient care that you have always known and loved.

Most of you have been following the updates throughout the past two weeks and have been following the rapid shifts in protocols. Along with all of you, we too have settled into our new routine.

Thank you so much for all of your amazing support and kind words throughout this week as we have scrambled to adjust our protocols, care for your pets, and keep our clients and employees safe.  

More than ever, we ask you to support your local independently-owned small businesses.  Please consider stocking up on your pets’ spring heartworm and flea/tick preventatives by purchasing from St Francis or from our online store instead of a large warehouse like Chewy or PetMeds.  Your purchases will help sustain our business and support our employees. Given the uncertainty of the days ahead, we have increased our staff for Saturday to help accommodate your medication refills and preventative purchases.

We hope to remain open throughout this time, but if that is not feasible, we will be poised to monitor our phones, emails, and PetDesk.  

We know that these are challenging times for everyone.  We are thinking of all of you as we navigate the days ahead.

The Doctors & Staff at St Francis Animal Hospital

We continue to monitor the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in and around our community and are making the best decisions we can to care for our patients while keeping you and our veterinary team as safe as possible.

Effective immediately, we will no longer schedule any routine or non-essential appointments until after April 5th.  This includes routine annual examinations, vaccine appointments, grooming appointments, maintenance acupuncture appointments, elective surgeries, or routine laboratory rechecks.  If your pet currently has an appointment, we intend to continue to care for those patients as planned until further notice. 

It is important to understand that this situation is changing quickly.  It is essential that you are monitoring for email communication or updates on our website, Facebook page, PetDesk or other social media channels.  We are approaching this situation day-by-day, and if conditions change, we will update you accordingly.  Please be aware that cancellations could occur at any time with limited notice.

For those patients who have appointments with us, we are only offering curbside service.  We will no longer allow clients into the building with the exception of euthanasia appointments on a case-by-case basis. 

What To Expect During Your Visit

Appointments

  • We will email you a history form to complete prior to your appointment. It is essential that you have this form completed at the time of your arrival.  This will provide us with the information we need to give your pet the best care under these circumstances. 
  • We will monitor for new clients to enter the parking lot. If our staff members are working with patients and are not available to greet you at your car, call us at (651) 645-2808 or text us at (651) 998-7133.  Please be patient as we try to manage an excessively high call and text volume.  It is helpful to provide us with your car’s make, model, and color so that we can find you easily.

Important: Our texting capability is only for curbside check in.  Do not contact us via text for any other matters.

  • A veterinary assistant or technician will retrieve your completed history form, discuss your goals for the visit, and bring your pet into the building. A number will be placed on your windshield and on your pet’s chart.

It is absolutely necessary for your pet to be in a carrier or on a leash with a properly fitting collar.  Your pet may be uncertain about what is happening, and we all need to work together to make sure that no pet escapes from a vehicle or slips out of a poorly fitting collar.  We may add a slip leash for your dog for added protection.

  • Once in the building, the doctor will perform an examination and any pre-authorized procedures or treatments. If additional conversation is necessary, we will call you. 
  • We will return to your car with your pet along with your medications, preventatives, products, and discharge instructions.
  • We will obtain payment from you via phone or our wireless credit card terminal. As always, we also accept cash or checks.  You are not required to sign credit card slips.
  • If your pet is fearful, aggressive, or does not do well without you present, please discuss this with us at the time of scheduling so that we can discuss options.
  • All acupuncture appointments will be cared for at the main St Francis location, not St Francis Integrative Services. This will be effective immediately.

Medications, Pet Food, and Other Products

As noted above, you will not be allowed to enter the building to retrieve your pet’s medications, food, or other products.

  • Please call ahead at least 48 to 72 hours in advance for all medications, pet food, or products. This will allow us adequate time to have everything ready for you.  We are receiving unusually high numbers of medication refill requests and have had difficulty keeping up with the demand.  Please be patient with us as we do our best to serve everyone’s needs.
  • When you arrive, call us at (651) 645-2808 or text us at (651) 998-7133. It is helpful to provide us with your car’s make, model, and color so that we can find you easily.

Important: Our texting capability is only for curbside check in.  Do not contact us via text for any other matters.

  • We will bring everything to your car for you.
  • We will obtain payment from you via phone or our wireless credit card terminal. As always, we also accept cash or checks.  You are not required to sign credit card slips.

We also offer a convenient online store on our website.  Visit www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com and click on Vetsource Online Store.  For first-time users, you may enter either HURRAY25 or AWESOME25 for 25% off your first order through the end of March.  Items will be billed and shipped to your home, but purchases will still benefit St Francis directly.  This is an excellent option for ordering medications and pet food from the safety of your own home.

We ask for your understanding and patience as we balance caring for your pets and keeping our community safe.  Please continue to visit our website, social media channels, and PetDesk for additional information as this situation rapidly unfolds.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us via phone (651-645-2808) or email (group@stfrancisabh.com). 

Wishing you all good health!

Sincerely,
The Doctors and Staff at St Francis Animal Hospital

 

We continue to monitor the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in and around our community and are making the best decisions we can to care for our patients while keeping you and our veterinary team as safe as possible.

We will be starting our curbside services tomorrow, Wednesday March 18th.  We will no longer allow clients into the building with the exception of euthanasia appointments on a case-by-case basis.  However, we will continue to see patients as long as we are able to follow these strict protocols.

What To Expect During Your Visit

Appointments 

  1. We will email you a history form to complete prior to your appointment.  It is essential that you have this form completed at the time of your arrival.  

  2. We will monitor for new clients to enter the parking lot.  If our staff members are working with patients and are not available to greet you at your car, call us at (651) 645-2808 or text us at (651) 998-7133.  Please be patient as we try to manage an excessively high call and text volume. At this time, please provide us with your car’s make, model, and color so that we can find you easily.

Important: Our texting capability is only for curbside check in.  Do not contact us via text for any other matters.

3. A veterinary assistant or technician will retrieve your completed history form, discuss your goals for the visit, and bring your pet into the building.

It is absolutely necessary for your pet to be in a carrier or on a leash with a properly fitting collar. 
Your pet may be uncertain about what is happening, and we all need to work together to make sure that no pet escapes from a vehicle or slips out of a poorly fitting collar.  We may add a slip leash for your dog for added protection.

4. The doctor will perform an examination and any pre-authorized procedures or treatments.  If additional conversation is necessary, we will call you. 

5. We will return to your car with your pet along with your medications, preventatives, products, and discharge instructions. 

6.  We will obtain payment from you via phone or our wireless credit card terminal.  As always, we also accept cash or checks.

7.  If your pet is fearful, aggressive, or does not do well without you present, please discuss this with us at the time of scheduling so that we can discuss options. 

8.  For St Francis Integrative Services appointments, we will not have the ability to call or text, so please plan to wait outside until we are ready for you.  We will call you when we have finished your pet’s treatment. 

9.  We recommend that you delay routine appointments, grooming appointments, non-essential technician appointments, and other non-essential visits until the school closures are lifted to minimize unnecessary exposure to our staff.   

Medications, Pet Food, and Other Products

As noted above, you will not be allowed to enter the building to retrieve your pet’s medications, food, or other products.

  1. Please call ahead at least 48 hours in advance for all medications, pet food, or products.  This will allow us adequate time to have everything ready for you. We are receiving unusually high numbers of medication refill requests and have had difficulty keeping up with the demand.  Please be patient with us as we do our best to serve everyone’s needs

  2. When you arrive, call us at (651) 645-2808 or text us at (651) 998-7133.  At this time, please provide us with your car’s make, model, and color so that we can find you easily. 

Important: Our texting capability is only for curbside check in.  Do not contact us via text for any other matters. 

3.  We will bring everything to your car for you. 

4.  We will obtain payment from you via phone or our wireless credit card terminal.  As always, we also accept cash or checks.

We also offer a convenient online store on our website.  Visit www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com and click on Vetsource Online Store.  For first-time users, you may enter either HURRAY25 or AWESOME25 for 25% off your first order through the end of March.  Items will be billed and shipped to your home, but purchases will still benefit St Francis directly. This is an excellent option for ordering medications and pet food from the safety of your own home.

We ask for your understanding and patience as we balance caring for your pets and keeping our community safe.  Please continue to visit our website, social media channels, and PetDesk for additional information as this situation rapidly unfolds.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us via phone (651-645-2808) or email (group@stfrancisabh.com).  

Wishing you all good health!

Sincerely,
The Doctors and Staff at St Francis Animal Hospital

We continue to monitor the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in and around our community and are making the best decisions we can to care for our patients while keeping you and our veterinary team as safe as possible.

We will be keeping our clients up-to-date via PetDesk, our website, email newsletters, Facebook, and other social media channels.  Please monitor closely for our updated status as this is changing daily.

As of now, we continue to maintain regular business hours and appointments.  However, starting on Wednesday March 18th, we will no longer allow clients into the building.  Please see the following for additional information about what to expect with these new protocols.

Appointments

  • If you are experiencing any signs of illness; have any flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, or shortness of breath; or have had any of these signs within the past fourteen days, please reschedule any upcoming routine appointments.
  • If you have recently had an increased risk of exposure by traveling or attending a large gathering, please postpone your appointment until after a fourteen-day quarantine.
  • If you are ill, have been ill within the past fourteen days, or have had an increased risk of exposure and your pet needs urgent care or medical attention, please ask a friend, neighbor or family member to bring your pet into our facility. If you call ahead, we will gladly accommodate your pet’s guardian and make the appropriate arrangements.
  • If anyone in your household is ill, has been ill within the past fourteen days, or has had an increased risk of exposure, please call ahead to inform us so that we may take the appropriate protective measures to keep our team safe while handling your pet and your pet’s belongings. Our veterinary team will be wearing gloves when handling your pet in these situations.
  • We will no longer be allowing clients to enter the building with their pets. Instead, we will be offering ‘curbside service’.
  • When new appointments are scheduled, please provide your vehicle information (color, make, and model).
  • We will email you a history form to complete prior to your appointment. It is essential that you have this form completed at the time of your arrival.  
  • We will monitor for new clients to enter the parking lot. If our staff members are working with patients and are not available to greet you at your car, call us at (651) 645-2808.  Please be patient as we try to manage an excessively high call volume at this time.  We hope to add a more convenient texting option through the PetDesk app soon and will let you know if/when that is an option. 
  • A veterinary assistant or technician will retrieve your history form, discuss your goals for the visit, and bring your pet into the building.

It is absolutely necessary for your pet to be in a carrier or on a leash with a properly fitting collar.  Your pet may be uncertain about what is happening, and we all need to work together to make sure that no pet escapes from a vehicle or slips out of a poorly fitting collar.  We may add an additional slip leash for your dog for added protection.

  • The doctor will perform an examination and any pre-authorized procedures or treatments. If additional conversation is necessary, we will call you.  (Note: We are exploring options to allow you to be on speakerphone during the visit.)
  • We will return to your car with your pet along with your medications, preventatives, products, and discharge instructions.
  • We will obtain payment from you via phone or our wireless credit card terminal. As always, we also accept cash or checks.

If your pet is fearful, aggressive, or does not do well without you present, please discuss this with us at the time of scheduling so that we can discuss options.

  • Visits to our St Francis Integrative Services location will be handled in the same manner, though due to the traffic from surrounding businesses in the parking lot, we ask you to hand your pet off to us at the door. You are welcome to wait in your vehicle or plan to return 45 minutes later.  We will call you when we have finished your pet’s treatment.
  • In general, we recommend that you delay routine appointments, grooming appointments, non-essential technician appointments, and other non-essential visits until the school closures are lifted to minimize unnecessary exposure to our staff.

Medications, Pet Food, and Other Products

As noted above, you will not be allowed to enter the building to retrieve your pet’s medications, food, or other products.

  • Please call ahead at least 24 hours in advance for all medications, pet food, or products. This will allow us adequate time to have everything ready for you.
  • When you arrive, call us at (651) 645-2808. Please be patient as we try to manage an excessively high call volume at this time.  We hope to add a more convenient texting option through the PetDesk app soon and will let you know if/when that is an option. 
  • We will bring everything to your car for you.
  • We will obtain payment from you via phone or our wireless credit card terminal. As always, we also accept cash or checks.

We also offer a convenient online store on our website.  Visit www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com and click on Vetsource Online Store.  For first-time users, you may enter either HURRAY25 or AWESOME25 for 25% off your first order through the end of March.  Items will be billed and shipped to your home, but purchases will still benefit St Francis directly.

 

Safety Precautions: Cleaning and Disinfection

Veterinary practices routinely disinfect with products that are virucidal – this means that they destroy viruses.  We use REScue, an accelerated hydrogen peroxide disinfectant.  Rescue is effective against coronavirus COVID-19 as per the Center for Biocide Chemistries, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the CDC.

We are taking additional precautions with regards to cleaning and disinfection including regular cleaning of all door handles, light switches, pens, computer keyboards, and telephones.

Other Preparations

The CDC suggests that families have a two-week supply of food, prescriptions, and pet supplies available in the event that you become sick and are quarantined within your home.  Please contact us if you need to order your pets’ medications, food, or other supplies.  We also encourage you to visit our online store on our website at www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com.

We are continuously reviewing potential supply chain issues and purchasing surplus orders of critical medications and medical supplies as deemed appropriate.  We will keep you updated on any backorder situation that may affect your pet.

Interacting With Pets

At this time, experts have not expressed concern about transmission to or from animals.  Multiple international health organizations have indicated that pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting COVID-19 or spreading COVID-19.

However, if you are infected with COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control is recommending that you limit contact with pets just as you would limit contact with other humans.  When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick.  If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid close contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.

Additional Resources

CDC: Coronavirus COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

AVMA: What Do You Need To Know About Coronavirus?
https://www.avma.org/blog/what-do-you-need-know-about-coronavirus?inf_contact_key=1c317f3db5a4c53643f6de4621d73697

MN Board of Animal Health: Coronavirus Disease 2019
https://www.bah.state.mn.us/covid-19/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery&inf_contact_key=c2379d7af511af125bc2396cc3f75d15

World Health Organization (WHO): Coronavirus Disease Advice for the Public: Myth Busters
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters?inf_contact_key=0b28854d1c48d3a6bbd69d4929ae18ec

CDC: Hand-Washing Guide
https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery&inf_contact_key=0f64a409b89b1aa28cec3d5c263ef242

We ask for your understanding and patience as we balance caring for your pets and keeping our community safe.  Please continue to visit our website, social media channels, and PetDesk for additional information as this situation rapidly unfolds.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us via phone (651-645-2808) or email (group@stfrancisabh.com). 

Wishing you all good health!

Sincerely,

The Doctors and Staff at St Francis Animal Hospital

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Important Updates

While the health of our patients is always our utmost priority, we are continuing to monitor the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in and around our community in order to best keep you and our veterinary team as healthy as possible.

As of now, St Francis is open and operating as usual.  We continue to maintain regular business hours and appointments, but as new information is continually evolving, please continue to check our website and social media channels for the current status of business hours and availability.  We anticipate that our status may change even within the next week.

While the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) have indicated that dogs, cats, and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting COVID-19, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of clients and staff within our facility.

IMPORTANT COVID 19 UPDATE 1

Appointments

  • If you are experiencing any signs of illness; have any flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, or shortness of breath; or have had any of these signs within the past fourteen days, we kindly ask you to reschedule your upcoming routine appointments.
  • If you have recently had an increased risk of exposure by traveling or attending a large gathering, please consider rescheduling your appointment until after a fourteen-day quarantine.
  • If you are ill, have been ill within the past fourteen days, or have had an increased risk of exposure and your pet needs urgent care or medical attention, please ask a friend, neighbor or family member to bring your pet into our facility. If you call ahead, we will gladly accommodate your pet’s guardian and make the appropriate arrangements.
  • If anyone in your household is ill, has been ill within the past fourteen days, or has had an increased risk of exposure, please call ahead to inform us so that we may take the appropriate protective measures to keep our team safe while handling your pet and your pet’s belongings. Our veterinary team will be wearing gloves when handling your pet.
  • In compliance with the recommendations for social distancing, we will refrain from shaking your hand and will keep as distanced as possible during your visit. If you prefer to wait outside or in your car during your pet’s appointment, please let us know and we will make those accommodations.
  • In general, please consider delaying routine appointments, grooming appointments, or other non-essential visits until the school closures are lifted to minimize unnecessary exposure to our staff.
  • We understand that there are many other causes of respiratory signs besides COVID-19. However, we have elected to err on the side of caution to keep everyone safe.  If you are exhibiting any respiratory signs while at St Francis, you will be asked to wait outside or in your car while we care for your pet.  We appreciate your understanding of this decision.

Safety Precautions: Cleaning and Disinfection

Veterinary practices routinely disinfect with products that are virucidal – this means that they destroy viruses.  We use REScue, an accelerated hydrogen peroxide disinfectant.  Rescue is effective against coronavirus COVID-19 as per the Center for Biocide Chemistries, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the CDC.

We are taking additional precautions with regards to cleaning and disinfection.  In addition to our regular cleaning and disinfection between patients, we have implemented the following steps:

  • Door handles and light switches in the exam rooms are disinfected between every appointment.
  • The lobby benches, reception countertop, pens, faucets, toilet handle, and all other door handles are disinfected hourly. All telephones are cleaned between individual users.
  • Magazines and all other reading materials have been removed from our exam rooms. Please bring your own reading materials to your pet’s appointment if desired.

We ask you to join us in washing your hands thoroughly and frequently in order to prevent disease transmission. 

Other Preparations

The CDC suggests that families have a two-week supply of food, prescriptions, and pet supplies available in the event that you become sick and are quarantined within your home.  Please contact us if you need to order your pets’ medications, food, or other supplies.  We also encourage you to visit our online store on our website at www.stfrancisanimalandbird.com.

We are continuously reviewing potential supply chain issues and purchasing surplus orders of critical medications and medical supplies as deemed appropriate.  We will keep you updated on any backorder situation that may affect your pet.

Interacting With Pets

At this time, experts have not expressed concern about transmission to or from animals.  Multiple international health organizations have indicated that pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contracting COVID-19 or spreading COVID-19.

However, if you are infected with COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control is recommending that you limit contact with pets just as you would limit contact with other humans.  When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick.  If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid close contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.

Additional Resources

CDC: Coronavirus COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

AVMA: What Do You Need To Know About Coronavirus?
https://www.avma.org/blog/what-do-you-need-know-about-coronavirus?inf_contact_key=1c317f3db5a4c53643f6de4621d73697

MN Board of Animal Health: Coronavirus Disease 2019
https://www.bah.state.mn.us/covid-19/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery&inf_contact_key=c2379d7af511af125bc2396cc3f75d15

World Health Organization (WHO): Coronavirus Disease Advice for the Public: Myth Busters
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters?inf_contact_key=0b28854d1c48d3a6bbd69d4929ae18ec

CDC: Hand-Washing Guide
https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery&inf_contact_key=0f64a409b89b1aa28cec3d5c263ef242

We ask for your understanding and patience as we balance caring for your pets and keeping our community safe.  Please continue to visit our website and social media channels for additional information as this situation rapidly unfolds.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us via phone (651-645-2808) or email (group@stfrancisabh.com). 

Wishing you all good health!

Sincerely,
The Doctors and Staff at St Francis Animal Hospital

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Employee Spotlight: Cate Boisjolie

Cate joined St Francis Animal Hospital in September 2017 after a varied career path that included being a certified nursing assistant, a research laboratory assistant, a phlebotomist, and a veterinary assistant in a large animal hospital.  Her current career interests lie in research, pathology, and medicine, and she has applied to medical school for the Class of 2024.

Cate is St Francis’ lead veterinary assistant.  In addition to her regular duties, she assists the veterinary technicians with technical duties and helps with the training and mentoring of new assistants.

cate boisjoilie

Outside of work and school, her hobbies include reading, running, camping, photography/videography, hanging with her two nieces, traveling with her husband, Danny, and cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals.

Why do you love being a veterinary assistant?

I was born and raised in Austin, MN and most of my adolescence was spent with animals.  My interest in biology and medicine began at an early age.  Dogs, cats and horses were some of my best friends and that's still the same today.  I love working in a field that allows me to work with animals on a daily basis.

Why do you love working at St Francis Animal Hospital?

I'm excited to work at St. Francis.  I love having the opportunity to learn from my colleagues, both human and animal, and continue to gain knowledge that will help me in my future career path.

Thank you, Cate, for your years of service at St Francis.  It’s never too late to choose to go to veterinary school – we would love to have you stay in the veterinary field!


 Allergy Season: Ear Care For Your Dog

Any dog can get ear infections, but those with long or hairy ears (Cocker Spaniels or Retrievers) can be more prone.  Common signs of ear infections include inflammation, discharge, swelling, and foul odor.  You may also notice your dog scratching their ears or shaking their head.

Dogs have both a horizontal and a vertical canal, making them much longer than a human’s canal.  It’s important when cleaning their ears to completely fill their entire canal with a cleanser specifically designed for pets.  Massage the base of their ear and allow them to shake the debris and fluid out.  Never use a Q-tip in their canal as you may cause damage to the eardrum. 

It’s important to care for your dog’s ears with maintenance cleaning.  We recommend cleaning their ears once to twice a month or once weekly if they’re more prone to infections.  It is also recommended to clean ears after swimming or bathing.  We offer several types of ear cleansers.  For normal maintenance, we have Epi-Klean and for dogs prone to bacterial or yeast infections, we have TrizUltra + Keto Flush.

Most patients with recurrent ear infections have underlying allergies.  Dogs can be allergic to environmental allergens (atopy) or to food allergens.  If your dog suffers from ongoing or recurrent ear infections, schedule an appointment to speak with one of our veterinarians about the management of allergies. 

Spring allergens and the summer swimming season are right around the corner!  Please let us know if you have any questions about your dog’s ears!  To schedule an appointment or order a refill of ear cleaning solution, you may reach us via phone at (651-645-2808), email (group@stfrancisabh.com) or our PetDesk app.

Written by Abby Torok, CVT, Director of Dermatology Services 


News Briefs

National Awesome Veterinarian Week
We have created a new holiday which is currently only celebrated at St Francis Animal Hospital.  Please join us in celebrating National Awesome Veterinarian Week March 16th-20th!  Take a moment to say thank you to your pet’s veterinarian(s) this week!

Tobias Matthew 
We are very sad to announce the passing of our clinic mascot, Tobias Matthew.  Toby had retired to live with our former veterinary technician, Kelly, several years ago.  He passed this week at the age of 14 years.  He will be missed dearly by so many who loved him.

toby 

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who provides us with feedback via the PetDesk surveys, online reviews, and your personal emails, cards, and letters.  Your feedback means so much to us.  We are so grateful to have the world’s best clients and patients!