COVID-19 and Home Euthanasia; Suggested tips to reduce exposure

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The following are suggested tips to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during home euthanasia work. Note these have not been reviewed by health officials and you are encouraged to adhere to local ordinances as well as your own scientific understanding of disease mitigation. When in doubt, follow your instinct, keeping safety at the forefront for all involved.

  1. Limit appointments to same day or next day scheduling only…keep to more emergency cases or for those patients whose families are being diligent to avoid crisis.
  2. Reduce appointment volume per day to 5 per veterinarian.
  3. Veterinarians and staff should wear masks and gloves in all homes. 
  4. Have phone staff alert clients to staff protection and ask about any sickness in the home.
  5. Collect payment ahead of time over the phone.
  6. Allow staff to gather verbal consent for euthanasia…no passing of pens between people.
  7. Cease all physical contact with clients.
  8. Space appointments out a bit longer in between to provide time to wipe down supplies and reduce transmission.  This includes supply bag, clippers, clothing, stretcher, tourniquets, etc.
  9. Keep the number of people at the appointment to a minimum.
  10. Encourage clients to self disinfect before your arrival.  Alert them to their behaviors in a time when they are not thinking about it.
  11. Invite the crematory to make memorialization items instead of your team. This will reduce time in the home.
  12. Let clients know the staff will be working with added efficiency to reduce exposure time.
  13. Place deceased pets in leak-proof bodybags and reduce handling.
  14. Switch to potty pads over towels for easier disposal.
  15. Gather outside when possible.
  16. When in doubt over safety, do not go to the home to perform services.

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Dr. Kathleen Cooney

DVM, CHPV, CPEV, DACAW resident Founder, Senior Director of Education for the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy

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