WSVMA COVID-19 Updates

  |   Animal Health, COVID-19

As we reported earlier this week, the WSVMA has put together resources on our website for veterinarians and the public to help you keep abreast of all the COVID-19 news. We’ll update it with new information as things change.

As we continue to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, new questions are arising as to how veterinarians and veterinary practices may be impacted. One such question which came in this week asks:

With the outbreak of COVID-19, if pet owners are unable to bring their pet into the clinic, can I waive the yearly exam requirement to fill scheduled and non-scheduled medications for animals? 

The Veterinary Board of Governors advises that veterinarians must follow all veterinary regulations. At least two regulations relate to the question posed above:

  • WAC 246-933-200 Veterinary-client-patient relationship. In particular, paragraph 1.b.i, “that the veterinarian has examined the animal(s) within the last year, or sooner if medically appropriate.”
  • WAC 246-933-020 describes the objectives of veterinary medicine as “to render veterinary services to society, to assist in conserving livestock resources, and to assist in relieving suffering of animals. The veterinarian shall always endeavor to act in such a manner to further these objectives.”

In the case of emergency situations, such as the inability of a client to travel due to a statewide emergency, veterinarians should use their best medical judgment in a case by case basis. Be extra careful to document all requests and decisions thoroughly. Veterinarians should also be careful to follow DEA prescription guidelines for schedule drugs. See page 19 of the DEA Practitioner’s Manual.

What are the potential shortages of drugs and medical supplies?

AVMA writes the following: The AVMA is concerned about potential medical supply chain issues, including both pharmaceuticals (specifically active pharmaceutical ingredients [APIs]) and medical products, such as personal protective equipment. We have learned from FDA that there are 32 animal drug firms that make finished drugs or source active pharmaceutical ingredients in China for the United States market. The FDA has contacted all 32 firms and no shortages have been reported at this time. However, six of those firms have indicated that they are seeing disruptions in the supply chain that soon could lead to shortages. The FDA is working with these firms to help identify interventions to mitigate potential shortages. FDA has done similar work on the medical product/device side. An FDA webpage has been created through which the FDA is sharing information around the availability of drugs and medical supplies. Because veterinarians use a substantial number of FDA-approved human drugs under federal extralabel drug use statute and regulations, shortages on the human side will be felt by veterinary medicine as well. Veterinarians are encouraged to send information regarding any supply chain issues of concern to the AVMA at [email protected]. Detailed information on the product of concern and the manufacturer/distributor of that product will be most helpful.


What do veterinarians need to know about surgical mask shortages? Can I re-use them?

Dr. Scott Weese, on his Worms & Germs Blog reports that the availability of surgical masks has decreased and veterinary clinics are typically unable to obtain masks. Suppliers and manufacturers are primed towards supplying the human medical facilities. An obvious solution might be to re-use masks, but is that appropriate? Read Dr. Weese’s assessment on what veterinarians need to know about the different types of masks and the question of whether you can re-use them.

Upcoming WSVMA CE Programs

As announced, we cancelled our March 7 VetMed Matters Conference on Veterinary Economics. We’ve also cancelled our April 5 One Day CE program in Yakima on nutrition due concerns on the part of the venue. We are currently evaluating when we can expect to reschedule each program. We still plan to hold the May 3 CE program, “A Merry Mishmash of Medicine,” but if things change, members will be the first to know.

Don’t forget we have DVM:Masterclass webinars on third Tuesdays, so plan to watch from the comfort of your home of hospital. The next one is on March 17 featuring Dr. Sandy Willis on Diagnostic Testing: A Potpourri of Useful Information. We also have a growing bank of pre-recorded DVM:Masterclass webinar programs on our website so that you don’t miss out on your CE requirements during this time.

As always, stay healthy, and let us know if you have questions. (800) 399-7862 or [email protected].


Posted March 6, 2020