Article is Written by well known MD’s in Pet Care world, Gloria Bachmann, James F. Dougherty and Dina Fonseca, Will Add more information about them in End.
None of us could have predicted that a new coronavirus pandemic requiring extreme social distancing would become the major event of 2020. The need to minimize COVID-19 transmission has required changing the way we work, socialize and live in our communities. Incredibly, the most social thing we as a social species can do right now is to self-isolate and keep a social distance from each other. But as a result, many may delay obtaining life-saving treatments for non-COVID-19 related illnesses and their condition may worsen.
Understandably, we are postponing necessary medical check-ups and ignoring “minor” health concerns because we fear COVID-19 exposure in health-care settings, the need to social distance, the reduced hours of many clinical operations and the perhaps cumbersome procedures for obtaining non-emergency care. It logically follows that if the current social distancing rules are maintained for an extended period, some of these other non-COVID-19 issues will become major concerns, if not emergencies, potentially becoming another health care crisis.
We would encourage anyone in severe pain, or with unexplained symptoms to immediately check by phone with their health care provider, or another online option available for a health consultation. If they can’t reach someone, they should go to an acute care facility to be checked out.
There is minimal risk of getting infected by coming to a hospital. COVID-19 patients are screened in an area outside of the hospital and are hospitalized in a different area of the hospital that is isolated from the other areas where non-COVID 19 patients are. Patients get a fever check before they can come into an area with non-COVID patients. There also are no visitors in the hospital, except for partners of women delivering babies. So its a very sterile environment with all personnel and patients wearing masks.
It is important to emphasize that the importance of seeking care holds true not only for humans but for pets, too. As the weather warms, mosquitoes that transmit heartworm will increase, so make sure your dog has the needed medication. Critically, May is Lyme disease awareness month because it is when tick bites usually skyrocket as we spend more time outdoors. Ticks infected with Lyme disease can occur in our backyards and local parks and will bite us even as we social distance. If transmission of the Lyme bacterium occurs, early intervention is critical.
Also, be wary of other communicable infections that can impact you and your pet’s health. And if you feel you have been exposed to an infectious agent, report this exposure and go for further testing and care.
The New Jersey One Health Committee wants to emphasize that wellness is a continuum that not only involves humans but other animals and our shared environment. While the COVID-19 pandemic has dominated our lives, we should not lose sight of the continuum of other pressing health needs that we and our pets need to have addressed in a timely manner for optimal health and well-being.
Gloria Bachmann, MD, MMS, is co-chairperson of NJ One Health initiative, director of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Women’s Health Institute and associate dean for Women’s Health.
James F. Dougherty, M.S., V.M.D., is a veterinarian with Metropolitan Veterinary Associates.
Dina Fonseca, PhD, is director of Rutgers Center for Vector Biology.
This letter was also signed by:
— Damir Hamamdzic, DVM, Rutgers Compliance Administor
— Laura Kahn, MD, MPH, MPP, a research scholar at Princeton University
— Barbara Perry, MBA, director or Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s Orthopaedic Research & Education Laboratory.