What to do when you see a coughing dog
Have you ever walked into an appointment room only to find a coughing dog (or cat) and thought…I really hope this animal isn’t infectious! Well you are not alone. But it is exactly this type of event that has been disastrous for many veterinarians, resulting in large, expensive clinic outbreaks, in which many animals become ill and some die. So, take these three steps to protect yourself, practice and patients.
Do a risk assessment before the patient shows up at your door. Train your reception staff what questions to ask to determine if the appointment poses an infection risk to your practice. See below for a link to a ready-to-use staff tool.
Have a plan. Bringing an infectious patient into the lobby should be avoided whenever possible. Put together an infection control plan that details how your practice can safely manage infectious patients, such as dogs with a potentially infectious respiratory illness. This may include staff members wearing disposable gloves and gowns meeting the client and patient outside the clinic for a quick assessment and determining where the patient can be safely further examined and housed (if needed). See below for a link to a how-to-guide for putting together these policies.
Know what’s out there. There are many causes for canine cough, and the list of infectious agents continues to grow. What might work for containing one pathogen, may not work for another. Stay current on the infectious pathogens in your area through continuing education and websites, like Worms and Germs Blog.
Visit this website for great resources aimed at developing and improving infection control practices at your clinic.