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From the Trenches

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A Vet’s Story

[/trx_title][trx_title type=”4″ align=”center” color=”#434544″ weight=”700″ bottom=”mini”]by Dr. Eileen Savier CVA, CVCH[/trx_title][vc_column_text]

Presenting Complaint:  Curbside Fatigue

It has been nearly a year ago – when we locked our building, stopped taking wellness visits, and stopped doing routine surgeries. I was torn between feelings of responsibility for caring for patients and wanting to stay safely at home and try to wrap my brain around what had just happened to life as we knew it. Some of our staff did decide to stay home and some made the difficult choice to quit all together. We faced staffing shortages, a complete overhaul of our business model, scheduling and re-scheduling problems based on recommendations coming from the state, supply chain disruptions, stress and safety concerns, confusion, and many other problems all at the drop of that first stay at home order. Overnight, my job changed and outside of trying to handle COVID-19, I had to change the entire way I communicate with families and how to proceeded with patient care.

Confusion… This is the word that persists still during this pandemic. As we try to rebuild a strategy to accommodate and see patients within the confines of this coronavirus world confusion remains the more pressing and persistent struggle. Confusion with procedure, expectations, and continuity of care. Confusion of how to maximize the time we spend examining patients vs being on the phone with families discussing what our exam findings are and working out a plan. Prioritizing sick vs. well visits while trying not to overwhelm local referral hospitals with overflow. Trying to accommodate all the new patients that were brought home during quarantine while still juggling current patients. Daily or weekly changes in protocol trying to find more efficient ways of seeing pets. All this while trying to be supportive of staff and colleagues as stress levels and coping strategies change rapidly.

Over time some of our challenges have gotten better and we found some new ones. Fact is we are still curbside and will be realistically at least for the duration of 2021 as people become vaccinated. Communication continues to be difficult, especially when there is any news other than “Fluffy looks great!” Giving families news that their pet has cancer, needs hospitalization, or a major surgery has been challenging. Even though I’m not a hugger, being able to see people and try to comfort them in person is something I miss… a lot. I am fortunate to have had long standing relationships with a majority of our clients prior to the pandemic so, unlike some veterinarians I have talked to, trust from clients has not been a huge challenge for me. Most of our clients have been with me for a long time, I am truly grateful for this as we sometimes get a minute or two to commiserate about our new life. The flip side to this is I know have many many patients that I have never met their people! It’s so strange saying “I’ll see Rover in four weeks for boosters” and still have no idea when I will meet his parents. This is an exhausting way to care for patients!

One overwhelming and amazing product of this past year is how many people show up every day. Receptionist answer every call, return every voicemail and email we get, and they do it with as much care and grace as ever. Our technical staff has shouldered running in and out of the building to get patients in all weather (even when some of you are less then helpful in the pouring rain…..yes get out of the car and give them your pet!), cuddle and play with patients while I am on the phone 15-20 minutes going over exam findings and answering questions, and gathering up all the medications, handouts, and information you need and bring it all back out to you. Fellow DVMs and myself are seeing more patients in a shift than every before and still making themselves available for consultations on cases or to help staff pets in addition to clients. We have all proven that we can withstand these changes, that we are strong and positive, and we can continue to get through this mess together. Who know what this year will bring, but I know it will all be fine if we continue to support each other!

(The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Barks and Recreation. Though we are HUGE fans of Dr. Eileen and the staff at Keystone.)[/vc_column_text][/trx_section][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1533135180690{margin-top: 40px !important;}”][vc_column css=”.vc_custom_1533134942241{background-color: #d9ae4c !important;}”][trx_title type=”2″ align=”left” color=”#f6f2e4″ left=”20″ right=”20″]About Dr. Eileen Savier[/trx_title][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1533135315368{padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 30px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”]Dr. Eileen SavierBarks & Recreation is proud to feature Dr. Eileen Savier CVA, CVCH as our Veterinary Blogger in our “From the Vet” Series. Currently part of the team of doctors at Keystone Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Savier is a 2012 Graduate of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, She completed her clinical experience at The Ohio State University and after veterinary school she pursued further education and certification in Veterinary Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Fear Free veterinary visits. Dr. Savier has a special interest in integrative medicine, animal behavior, and internal medicine and is committed to improving animal health care by integrating Eastern and Western philosophies. She enjoys working with fearful & aggressive dogs and cats and she has had additional training in low stress handling techniques and encourages positive reinforcement during exams and procedures. Her clinical interests include pain management, animal behavior, geriatric patient care, and internal medicine. Dr. Savier is a member of the following associations:

Dr. Savier shares her home with two (soon to be three) dogs, two cats, and a toddler. She lovingly refers to her two dogs as Coconut Retrievers as they were rescue dogs she brought home from the island of St. Kitts. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, going to the beach, and planning her next Disney vacation.

Join us every month for Dr. Savier’s “From the Vet” series to get more information related to the health and welfare of your furry family members![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]