COVID-19


COVID-19 Info


The MVMA wants to help its members stay informed about COVID-19. This MVMA Post is dedicated to COVID-19 resources.

The MVMA has established a dedicated page on its website. The MVMA will add this information to this webpage and update it as more information is available.

If you have information or a resource you believe would be beneficial to our members and would like the MVMA to share, please contact Daniela Whelan, Communications & Professional Development Coordinator.

Homewood Health

In these uncertain times, the MVMA would like to remind members that you can access Homewood Health. This program is available for members and their family members. The counsellors are available to assist with a range of issues, from anxiety and depression, to cognitive behaviour therapy, to marital/relationship problems.

Homewood Health: 1 800 663 1142

MVMA Office

Effective Wednesday, March 18, most MVMA staff will be working remotely. Staff will respond to emails and calls – and it is business as usual for the MVMA Office. Jo-Anne Holod, MVMA Office Administrator, will be attend the MVMA Office most days. However, we encourage anyone who wants to meet with MVMA staff to call ahead and arrange an appointment. (2048321276 ext. 4)

Please click on each tab below:


  • MVMA Urges Clinics to Stop Non-Essential Services
MVMA Urges Clinics to Stop Non-Essential Services

Evaluation Tool for essential vs non-essential veterinary procedures.

Below, please see the original message sent to members on March 25.

As responsible citizens and business owners, it is crucial to fulfill our social obligations to limit the spread of COIVD-19 and stress on the health care system. We can also have an impact on access to PPEs.  Focusing on essential veterinary services will go a long way in supporting this objective. We need to do our part.

To help members determine what is non-essential, the MVMA has developed an Evaluation Tool to guide clinics through an evaluation of treatment. Members can also refer to the CVMA’s Guidelines for Elective Services and Social Distancing as well as this Guideline/Examples of Essential vs Non-Essential Procedures(developed from the British Veterinary Association).

Members are reminded that guidelines are just that – guidelines.  Members should use their professional judgement in assessing if a case is essential and requires treatment. The goal of reducing services is to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 and reduce the use of PPEs. However, members must also keep in mind the responsibility for animal health, welfare and safe food production. These decisions will often come down to your judgement and opinion based on the factors presented. Evaluate the level of risk of COVID exposure to you, your staff and the public and what is the impact of PPE usage versus the health and welfare of the animal – and work from there.

Hopefully, in the near term, this recommendation can be re-evaluated.
The MVMA will need to consider the continued risk of the spread of COVID-19, access to PPEs, the health and welfare of animals, as well as the need for veterinary clinics to move back towards “business as normal”.

  • The MVMA’s VCPR & Telemedicine
The MVMA’s VCPR & Telemedicine

The MVMA does not have specific by-laws or rules that speak directly to the issue of telemedicine. In this sense, the same rules apply when providing veterinary service either in person or through a telemedicine modality (telephone, email, text, video call, etc.). With this said, members may want to review the following MVMA rules that many times touch on issues related to telemedicine within Manitoba:

  • The veterinarian must have a valid VCPR in order to provide veterinary service in Manitoba (Section 4-6-2 of the MVMA General By-Law No. 1).

This raises three key issues:

  1. The veterinarian must have sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition.
  1. The veterinarian cannot establish a VCPR through telemedicine alone.

***Please note the Peer Review Committee passed a resolution on April 3, 2020, that allows for a VCPR to continue without an annual physical examination of the animal or the premises where the animal(s) are kept. This means that for animals for which there had been a valid VCPR, which included a physical examination, or a visit to the premises where the animals(s) are kept, the veterinarian can continue to provide veterinary service when appropriate. For more information about this resolution, please click here.

  1. The veterinarian must be confident that the telemedicine modality that they are using (telephone, email, text, video call, etc.) is suitable and appropriate to provide the veterinarian with sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition. The individual veterinarian is responsible for assessing each situation and determining if telemedicine and the specific telemedicine modality is appropriate on a case by case basis.

As per the MVMA General By-Law No. 1 and the PIPS By-Law the veterinarian must keep compliant medical records for each patient. This includes patients that receive service via telemedicine.

For guidance about when telemedicine may be appropriate, please review the MVMA’s Evaluation Tool: Essential vs Non-Essential Veterinary Procedures.

Background

As a result of COVID-19 and the current state of emergency, the MVMA has been fielding an increased volume of questions about telemedicine in Manitoba. Please note that this information has been recently updated to include information about the Peer Review Committee (PRC) resolution passed on April 3, 2020.

The MVMA does not have any regulatory rules that define telemedicine. Generally, when veterinary professionals discuss telemedicine, they are referring to any technological mechanism that assists a veterinary professional in the provision of specific veterinary medical advice and veterinary treatment of an animal(s) based on the remote diagnosis of disease and injury by means of telecommunications technology where no physical examination of the animal(s) by the veterinarian takes place.

Telemedicine can include any technology that serves this purpose but has historically involved technologies like the telephone, email, text, video call.

  • Helpful Tips to Minimize Disease Spread in a Veterinary Setting
Helpful Tips to Minimize Disease Spread in a Veterinary Setting
  • Share the clinic’s protocol to protect the clients and staff. Advise what the clinic’s plan is for at-risk staff (usually a requirement to remain at home).
  • Pre-screen clients before direct interactions with them; ask about recent travel, self-isolation and illness. If a client is unwell, ask them to arrange for someone (who is not exposed and healthy) to bring their pet to the clinic. Or, ask them to reschedule the appointment if is not urgent.
  • Exercise social distancing: maintain 1-2 metres between yourself and others. Limit face-to-face interactions to work-related tasks.  This may include a closed exam rooms, extended time between clients and/or locked door policy.
  • Establish protocols to minimize person-to-person contact and maintain social distancing.  Offer hand sanitizer or opportunity for handwashing to each client as they come into the practice.
  • Minimize waiting room occupancy by increasing appointment times or staggering appointments as individual clinic staff complement can tolerate. Reconfigure waiting areas to ensure 1-2 metres distance between waiting clients and clients and hospital staff. Alternatively, have clients call the office once they have arrived and advise them when it is best to enter. (Increase social distancing by reducing the number of people in the waiting room.)
  • Restrict client access to practice by conducting a low/no contact appointment can be facilitated by asking the owner to remain in the vehicle. Practice staff can collect the patient from the vehicle for examination. Veterinarians and staff can then communicate with client by electronic means including text, face time, skype, etc. Medications and food may also be delivered to the vehicle in the same method.
  • Do not accept walk in traffic. Announce via signage, website, social media that the practice is not accepting walk-in traffic in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Triage clients to discourage COVID+ clients from attending the practice. If you are allowing clients to attend in-person, use Owner Contact Guidelines to determine if the client should safely be permitted to enter the practice.
  • Limit payment methods. Practices should limit payment to an online payment system, or by point of service terminal (POS), with increased sanitation practices. Practices should avoid accepting cash.
  • Limit client purchases: set limits (i.e. two-month supply of food and medication) in case of shortages.
  • Institute enhanced triage system for patients. Consider limiting treatment to emergencies, urgent and sick cases only as well as important population medicine cases (immunization of puppies and kittens). Postpone/reschedule routine visits, including wellness exams, vaccinations, elective surgeries, etc. Consider employing telemedicine in your triage process.
  • Consider having employees work in teams. By separating your employees by shift and into teams reduces close contact between larger groups of employees. Sanitize the practice between shifts.
  • Review infection prevention and control protocol for the practice: http://oahn.ca/resources/ipc-best-practices/, https://www.aaha.org/aaha-guidelines/infection-control-configuration/aaha-infection-control-prevention-and-biosecurity-guidelines/
  • Increase sanitation practices. Ensure commonly touched surfaces (door knobs, counters, tables, seating areas, keyboards, telephones and point of service terminals) are cleaned after each client visit.
  • Remove unnecessary items from the practice that may act as fomites such as magazines, candy dishes, kids’ toys and practice leashes.
  • Ensure staff use human hospital safety hand-washing protocols after every client contact.
  • Reduce the need for signatures. A veterinarian or veterinary technologist may document in the medical record that verbal informed client consent has been received to reduce the requirement for client signatures.
  • Encourage sick staff to stay home. Create a culture where staff respect that they should stay home if sick, and self-isolate if necessary.
  • HR policies. Practices should implement and discuss HR policies, including sick time, contingency plans for reduced childcare and other factors with employees.
  • Inform staff that the Canadian government will waive the one-week waiting period for forced isolation based on symptomology where eligible for Employment Insurance. Consider offering pay advances/loans to staff who must be away from work due to isolation measures. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html
  • Use disposable dishes or personal cups and dishware for coffee and lunches. Staff should not be sharing clinic dishes/food until otherwise notified.
  • Animals & COVID-19
Animals & COVID-19

Information on COVID-19 and Animals in Canada can be found on the Government of Canada’s website. Please consult this website frequently as information will be updated as it becomes available.

The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human-to-human transmission. There is no evidence to suggest that pets or other animals play a role in transmitting the disease to humans. Scientists are still trying to understand if and how it affects animals.

Pets can contribute to our overall happiness and well-being, especially in times of stress. If you are feeling well (no symptoms of COVID-19) and are not self-isolating because of COVID-19 illness, you can continue to take walks with your dog or spend time with your pet. This can contribute to keeping both you and your pet healthy.

As a precautionary measure, if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are self-isolating due to contact with a COVID-19 case, you should follow similar recommendations around animals, as you would around people in these circumstances:

  • avoid close contact with animals during your illness
    • practise good handwashing and avoid coughing and sneezing on your animals
    • do not visit farms or have contact with livestock
  • if possible, have another member of your household care for your animals
    • if this is not possible, always wash your hands before and after touching animals, their food and supplies and practise good cough and sneezing etiquette
  • limit your animal’s contact with other people and animals outside the household until your illness is resolved

These measures are recommended as a precaution, and are basic practices to prevent transmission of diseases between humans and animals. If you have concerns, seek professional advice from your veterinarian or a public health professional who can help to answer your questions.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency website has more information about animals and COVID-19.

OIE: Q&A on the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Information for industry

CFIA: Animal Health and COVID-19 – CFIA (English)

Global Veterinary Surgery: No evidence that COVID-10 can be contracted from pets (March 20, 2020)

Worms & Germs Blog (Dr. Scott Weese)

Human-to-cat SARS-CoV-2 transmission: Hong Kong (April 1, 2020)

SARS-COV-2 in ferrets, cats and dogs: A new experimental study (April 1, 2020)

New guidelines on COVID-19 and animals (March 31, 2020)

Human-to-cat COVID-19 virus transmission: Belgium (March 27, 2020)

COVID-19 virus in a dog: Update March 26

  • Message from Health Canada
Message from Health Canada

Message from Health Canada

Controlled Drugs

  • Message from WCVM
Message from WCVM

Message from the WCVM (March 15, 2020)

Dear Colleagues,

You may be aware that the University of Saskatchewan is taking steps to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19, including cancelling in-person classes and on campus events, and restricting travel.
Although USask is shifting to remote teaching for the rest of the winter term, the university will remain open (see updates.usask.ca for more information).
At the WCVM, we are working on plans so we can continue providing clinical services and delivering fourth-year rotations while responding to the university’s directives. We are also taking steps to protect faculty, staff, students and the public.

You in the veterinary community are important partners, and we will keep you posted regularly as we respond to this rapidly evolving situation.

Please be well and don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any comments, questions or concerns.
Sincerely, Doug Freeman
________________________________________
Douglas A. Freeman DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACT
Dean
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Saskatchewan

  • Message from College of Pharmacists of Manitoba
  • Government Health Links
Government Health Links

Below are information and links that members may find beneficial as they respond to questions and concerns about Covid-19.

Government of Canada links

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

  • Include information on COVID-19 Update; Travel advice; Preparedness; Symptoms & treatment; Prevention & risk; Canada’s response

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Prevention and Risks

Government of Manitoba links
Information about Coronavirus.

  • Veterinary Medical Links
Veterinary Medical Links

Below are information and links that members may find beneficial as they respond to questions and concerns about Covid-19.

CVMA
CVMA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Page

Featuring relevant information and documents to keep you up-to-date on the current situation.  Please visit the page regularly for updates.

Topics on this page include:

  • Essential Services
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Animals in Canada
  • Additonal resources (links to trusted resources)
  • CVMA Articles and Bulletins

AVMA

COVID-19: What veterinarians need to know

  • Includes general information as well as information about the origin and spread; COVID-19 in humans; SARS-CoV-2 and domestic animals; keeping veterinary teams healthy; potential supply chain effects; other resources

FQAs about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (March 11, 2020)

Worms & Germs Blog (Scott Weese)

The MVMA encourages members to read the Worms and Germs Blog, prepared by Dr. Scott Weese. The blog contains helpful information regarding COVID-19 for members, clinic staff and clients.

Current articles of interest:

Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

OVMA COVID-19 Resource Page

Patient Screening Pathways

Ontario Veterinary College

OVC Protocol for Client/ Patient arriving with perceived risk of COVID-19 Virus

WSAVA

The New Coronavirus and Companion Animals (March 7, 2020)

  • Business Links
Business Links

Below are information and links that members may find beneficial as they respond to questions and concerns about Covid-19.

Manitoba Chamber of Commerce & Other Business Links

COVID-19 Preparedness Tools & Resources

Covid-19 Tools & Resources for Businesses/ Employers

Covid-19 Tools & Resources for Individuals/ Employees

Federal Tax Response to Covid-19 (MNP)

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Employment & Social Development Canada

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ABOUT THE MVMA

The Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association is the professional organization of the province’s veterinarians.

We are an independent, non-profit entity that is dedicated to promoting the excellence of the veterinary profession.

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