Coronavirus leads to changes at local veterinary hospital

Wabash Valley pet owners may experience changes during their next visit to their pet's doctor. A local veterinarian is implementing new rules for staff and customers to make sure everyone stays healthy.

Posted: Jun 25, 2020 3:25 PM
Updated: Jun 25, 2020 5:18 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Wabash Valley pet owners may experience changes during their next visit to their pet's doctor. A local veterinarian is implementing new rules for staff and customers to make sure everyone stays healthy.

Dr. Michael Staub runs Honey Creek Animal Hospital in Terre Haute. He's the only veterinarian on staff so if he gets sick with coronavirus the hospital would have to close. That's why new procedures are in place to minimize the risk to everyone.

Dr. Staub says, "I wear a mask in the exam room because I am a solo veterinarian so if I get sick we're closed. If I have to quarantine for two weeks we're done for two weeks."

When you walk into the hospital lobby you won’t find any people in the chairs. Princess Pumpkin Spice Latte, the office cat, is the only one allowed to occupy the seats right now. Staff are keeping people and their pets moving through the lobby and into exam rooms.

Jacklyn Correll is a new client. She brought in her pet Duck because she noticed a limp. Correll had to make an appointment. Honey Creek had been a walk-in clinic prior to coronavirus concerns.

Like all clients, Correll was walked directly to an exam room. That’s where she filled out new client paperwork and spoke with a staffer about the reason for her visit. In an effort to minimize Dr. Staub’s exposure to others, pets are brought back for treatment. He comes back to the exam room, wearing a mask, to speak with pet owners. Then, clients like Correll pay for services in the exam room before walking directly out of the hospital. Dr. Staub says exam rooms are thoroughly cleaned between visits.

Correll says, "It makes you feel safe, actually, because you don't know actually, in this world, who has it so being in a room can keep you isolated from other people."

Dr. Staub says he feared the worst for his business when the pandemic hit earlier this year but the state lockdown and first round of stimulus checks may have brought more people in with their pets.

"I think, actually, the lockdown kind of helped in some ways because people were at home with their pets and they started noticing things that they may not have noticed otherwise when they were working."

He also says he thinks pet owners are choosing to use stimulus money for vet visits. That's been good for business now but he worries what it will be like three months from now.

Meanwhile, Dr. Staub says he is still taking on new clients but he and his staff remain consistently busy. He has scaled back on surgeries and vaccinations. He says call ahead no matter the circumstance.

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