COVID-19 Information for Pet Owners

Dear Clients of VRHOH,

In an effort to comply with the evolving policies mandated by the CDC concerning COVID-19, we are taking precautionary measures in how we provide continued care to our patients. 

**Effective Immediately: We will be instituting “car side” intake for everyone. This new protocol is modeled after North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital. This will allow us to continue to provide excellent care to your pet and also comply with safe social distancing. Please understand that the following policies are intended to keep you and our employees safe. 

What clients should do when they arrive at the hospital:

Specialty clients (Dr. Helms/Dr. Wood/Dr. Wolff):

  • Call the main phone line (828) 328-6697 and state why you are arriving. Please remain in your vehicle with your pet.
  • A client service representative will discuss your needs by phone when you arrive and may place you on a brief hold while the technician is paged. 
  • At the end of the phone conversation, a technician/assistant will come to the parking lot to bring your pet (animal) into the building for evaluation. They will hand you an intake questionnaire to fill out while they evaluate your pet within the hospital. 
  • After the doctor evaluates your animal, you will receive a phone call to discuss recommendations and a plan moving forward. Verbal consent for treatment and details surrounding financial estimates will be authorized via this phone call.

Shortly thereafter you will receive a phone call from a client service representative to obtain a deposit via one of our payment methods:

  • Credit card or Care Credit are preferred, but cash or check will also be accepted.

Emergency Clients:

  • Call the main line (828) 328-6697 and notify the client service representative why you are bringing your pet in. 
  • Please remain in your vehicle while a Triage Nurse comes out to assess your pet.
    • A Triage Nurse obtains a brief history car side and takes your pet back for assessment. **Please bring cats in a carrier
    • The Triage Nurse hands you a history questionnaire to fill out while you wait.
  • When your pet  is ready to be examined, another technician/assistant will meet you car side and  bring your pet in for the doctor to examine along with the history intake form. 
  • Your pet will be placed in a cage in our treatment area while the doctor calls you to discuss their exam. An estimate for a workup may be given via telephone, similarly we can email you a digital copy to review. 
  • You will be transferred to one of our client service representatives to leave a deposit. 
  • When/if your pet is ready to be discharged, you will be called and the discharges discussed via telephone. 

Updates will be given regularly via phone by your medical team. Once the care of your animal is complete, the discharge process will be discussed.

The Centers for Disease Control has a comprehensive website with general information and more about COVID-19 and animals:

March 13, 2020 — Due to the rise of COVID-19, the Doctors and Staff of Veterinary Referral Hospital of Hickory would like to reassure you that our employee and clients safety is a top priority. 
Veterinary professionals are trained in dealing with contagious, infectious diseases. In addition to our strict sanitation and disinfection guidelines, we have also increased the frequency that we are cleaning our hospital. Surfaces that are touched frequently, such as workstations, keyboards, doorknobs, countertops, and stethoscopes will be cleaned often and wiped down by employees with disposable wipes. We recommend that you and your family also follow similar guidelines to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission:
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water
  • Use paper towels that can be discarded vs. sharing cloth towels 
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Use hand sanitizer when hand washing is unavailable
Our staff will be remaining at home if they do not feel well and seek medical attention if they have a fever. Please understand that wait times may be affected by this as we would prefer our employees recover at home. 
In regards to your furry friends, please be aware that to date there is no concern for your pet to contract the virus. 
If you are positive with the virus, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends having someone else care for your pet. If you have an existing relationship with us and your pet becomes ill, please call us at 828-328-6697. For existing clients, we will be offering telemedicine as an alternative to you making a trip to our office. In order to provide this service, an exam by one of our doctors must have been performed within the past year. 
Also, if your pet is on any long term medications, please call the office and ask about refilling these meds for longer than 30 days. 
Please click on the link below for more information released by the American Veterinary Medical Association regarding COVID-19:
We believe that with a strong community to look out for one another, we can get through this. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions. 
The Doctors and Staff of Veterinary Referral Hospital of Hickory