Local emergency vet clinic staying open during COVID-19 pandemic, changing exam procedures

KENNEWICK, Wash. – As people self-isolate due to the coronavirus, pets are spending more quality time with their owners. And if they have an emergency, the care for them is still around in the Tri-Cities.

Horse Heaven Hills Pet Urgent Care in Kennewick is changing the way they interact with customers.

“So we’re having pet owners stay in their cars,” said Dr. Shiela Erickson, owner of the clinic. “We’re going out and collecting pets in carriers and then doing exams on the pets inside the building and then either going back out to talk with owners or call them on their phones.”

This allows the staff to limit potential COVID-19 exposure.

One thing Erickson has had to do is sew her own masks because of the shortage. While this clinic doesn’t have a medication shortage, they’re not taking any chances.

“We’ve stocked up a little bit more than we normally do on the things that we use most frequently, but right now it’s mostly the medical supplies,” Erickson said.

KAPP-KVEW also asked Dr. Erickson if pets can get the novel coronavirus. She said dogs can’t get this strain. They can get another strain of the coronavirus, but most dogs get the vaccine as a puppy and booster shots every year. However, it’s not required.

Erickson said her clinic will be open during their normal business hours.