Though Tanglefoot Fernie Veterinary Services Ltd. is closed to the public, they are still offering restricted services. Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press

Fernie’s veterinary clinic declared an essential service

Tanglefoot veterinary clinic continues to offer emergency services and food delivery to pet owners

In light of veterinary medicine being deemed an essential service, Tanglefoot Fernie Veterinary Services Ltd. remains open, albeit with various imposed restrictions.

“We feel it is very important for veterinarians to remain an essential service as our pets do not shut off their health concerns in times like this. Given our schedule the last few weeks, it is clear there are still many pets in the Elk Valley who are requiring urgent veterinary care,” said Dr. Tim Ritson-Bennett, veterinarian at Tanglefoot. “Medication refills are still needed during this time as well. By keeping the Fernie clinic up and running we hope to minimize the number of people travelling to nearby communities for veterinary assistance to help minimize the risk of community spread of COVID-19.”

Presently, Tanglefoot is still operating with a full team, seeing that phone lines and urgent cases have not ceased. Though the clinic is not open to the public, they can be reached by phone or email. Only after virtual consultations will pets be admitted into the clinic for examinations, diagnostics, and treatment.

This being said, in order to allow their clinic to continue operating, Tanglefoot is no longer offering elective surgeries or appointments. Such includes neuters, spays, general health checks, and vaccinations apart from those for puppies, kittens, and rabies. The clinic is, however, accepting emergency surgeries and other urgent cases. In the event of such, clients are still requested to inform the team prior to arrival so they can best prepare.

As it stands, the clinic’s hours remain 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday to Friday, however, they will be closed on Saturdays until further notice. Emergency services after hours remain available through Tanglefoot Cranbrook. In the event of a pet emergency, residents are to call (250) 489-1655 to speak with the on call veterinarian.

Food and medication sales are also being processed through the phone at this point, coupled with curb side pick up to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Tanglefoot is, however, limiting food orders to one bag per person, to avoid back orders. Tanglefoot is also offering no contact pet food deliveries within Fernie, Sparwood, and Elkford for the elderly and at risk populations.

“We our continuing to order our regular diets from our regular supplier while also following their recommendation of limiting food sales to avoid hoarding situations. People may order their food for delivery either by calling into the clinic or sending us an email. Food deliveries will occur between designated hours two to three days a week. Food delivery will be offered until such time that the province ceases their request for compliance with physical and social distancing rules, or our clinic is required to temporarily close due to staff members becoming infected with COVID,” said Ritson-Bennett.

The veterinarians from Tanglefoot want to take this opportunity to remind dog owners to continue practicing social distancing when walking pets. They suggest walking in areas where it is possible to still maintain an appropriate distance from others, as well as to always keep pets on a leash. They also recommend avoiding petting other people’s furry friends, as animals can act as carriers with their fur having the potential to carry the COVID-19 virus for unknown amounts of time.

Lastly, Fernie’s local veterinarians also want to remind pet owners that ticks are starting to appear. As a result, residents are encouraged to check their pets for ticks after outdoor walks, as well as to reach out to the clinic for preventative measures including medication if need be.

For more information including updates, head to Tanglefoot’s Facebook page or their Instagram at @tanglefootvetfernie.

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