For many Bay Area families, getting essential medical care for pets has been a challenge during the pandemic.
Dr. Crystal Heath, veterinarian at Berkeley Humane, says some dog and cat owners have been forced to put off vaccinations and other procedures.
"A lot of veterinary clinics are limiting their wellness care to emergency care only, and urgent care" Heath said. "A lot of vaccine clinics and such have been closed."
Pet owners may find their preferred veterinarian is fully booked for weeks or months out, Heath said. She urges pet parents to keep calling and to prioritize two types of care: vaccinations and flea prevention.
"Vaccinations are, of course, very important," Heath said. "Leptospirosis is common around here. That’s a spirochaete bacteria that they can get from wildlife, and it is zoonotic, so people can get it, too."
According to the CDC, leptospirosis can cause " ... kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death."
Heath also urges dog and cat owners to regularly use veterinarian-approved flea preventative medication on their pets.
"This climate is perfect for fleas," she said. "Anyone not on adequate flea prevention some dermatitis; some itchy skin; and pyoderma."
To help families unable to get vaccinations for their pets, Berkeley Humane will host a drive-up vaccination clinic this Saturday, Aug. 29, starting at 9 a.m.. Space is limited, so pet owners are encouraged to come early. Berkeley Humane is located at 2700 Ninth St. in Berkeley, southeast of the Marina.