SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way animal clinics operate in San Diego as some chose to have staff escort pets into the clinic, while owners wait outside.

"I would say it's kind of a like a new normal right now, that you're kind of adapting to and adjusting to" said dog owner Jen Strachan.

She brought her dog, Tank, to the Midland Animal Clinic in Poway, one of the clinics that is practicing social distancing.

Tank attends his vet appointment
KFMB

Under the new procedures, pet owners drive up, call the staff to alert them of his or her arrival. A staff member member, wearing a mask and gloves, escorts the pet inside the clinic, while the owner remains in their car. 

The pet's appointment with the vet goes forward as scheduled. Once it's over, a staff member escorts the pet out to the parking lot. A vet calls the owner to discuss the exam. 

Payment is taken over the phone. 

"I think they're being proactive in handling a bad situation," said Barbara Whiteman. Her puppy Pixie had an appointment at the clinic on Thursday morning.

"The people that have to work here, I think it's very important for them to be safe. If we don't have them working, our dogs won't be kept well."

Managing veterinarian Norm Switzer said it hasn't been that difficult to make changes. Sometimes, besides calling their clients they send them videos. 

"I think were managing pretty well," said Switzer.

He said they've temporarily suspended any elective surgeries. 

"We've had enough business to keep us open, but we're trying to distance ourselves from the public as much as possible."

"l appreciate it," said Strachan. "I appreciate they're watching out for the safety of everybody."

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