Pet Boarding Infection Control
Many consumers know about human medicine infection control challenges. And although headlines related to veterinary and non-medical animal care facility-acquired infections are less common, the problem is similar. Without a pet boarding infection control process in place, your efforts to prevent disease and provide home-like care are compromised and, in some cases, nullified.
Starting Off On The Right Paw
Requiring that pets be current on their vaccinations, including rabies, canine distemper and kennel cough, as well as being current on heartworm and flea preventatives and being in good health, is an essential first step and one taken by virtually all animal care facilities. Written proof in client files can help confirm treatments or highlight steps that need to be met before boarding the animal. Plus, requiring clients to fill out a pet health questionnaire will uncover potential challenges in advance of the visit and allow all involved to plan accordingly.
Staff Interaction, Hand Hygiene & PPE
Because many human viruses are contagious, a nurse may find it obvious to take proper hand hygiene precautions when interacting with a sick patient. But, for a kennel attendant or veterinary tech, the interaction risks with a pet is less obvious. Humans don’t catch Canine Coronavirus. Unfortunately though, it is contagious between dogs and when caregivers don’t wash their hands or use personal protective equipment, infections can spread.
Furthermore, many pet owners use veterinary boarding facilities for sick or special needs animals. Specializing in this higher level of boarding care can form strong client connections. But, without an effective infection control process, it can put other pets at risk. So, employ these tips:
- Display hand hygiene or wash hands signs in key spots within the boarding area
- Use gloves and other appropriate protective devices
- Always change gloves when handling sick animals or those with skin problems before interacting with the next animal
- Sterilize dirty containers, laundry and other materials once the animal departs
- Disinfect the floor and cage area once the animal departs
Prevention remains the best remedy to the spread of infections and these steps will help mitigate potential problems.
Pet boarding represents a growing revenue opportunity. A clean, safe, healthy and infection-free environment will result in repeat visits and referrals that lead to new clients. Although infection prevention requires ongoing vigilance, taking the appropriate safeguards will benefit the health of the animals you board and the health of your business.