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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!