Like humans, animals need care and medical assistance, COVID or no COVID. Vets in Practice Animal Hospital (VIP) has a hotline that makes it easier for clients to schedule appointments for their pets. Called Central Hub, it provides access to VIP’s branches in Taguig, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Alabang, Pasay, and Pasig.
The hotline is a response to the deluge of calls the animal hospital received during the lockdowns. Clients have their requests scheduled, depending on the available slots per branch. While inquiries can also be coursed through the hospital’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, all appointments are directed to Central Hub.
The strictly-by-appointment rule does not apply to emergencies. Clients are advised to seek immediate care for their pets in emergency situations.
VIP also offers online consultations via Facebook Messenger. “This was especially effective during the stricter quarantine periods,” said Jerome Cruz, VIP senior operations manager, who added there was an “overwhelming” number of requests for consultations, treatment, grooming, and emergency procedures when the hospital reopened two weeks after the latest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was imposed. Operations are picking up as clients have adapted to the new normal. A monthly disinfecting schedule is carried out in all six locations, although each can still only cater to a limited number daily.
As a matter of safety for both clients and staff, house calls have been temporarily discontinued.
Other new normal adjustments include providing shuttles for the staff and working with suppliers in getting essential products stocked on shelves.
Animal industry stakeholders fearing a bottleneck in veterinary medicine are asking government agencies to continue to allow the Bureau of Animal Industry to register veterinary medicine and products. The Food and Drug Administration has its hands full because of the pandemic.
“We’ve had to persevere and continue our operations because we are cognizant of the high demand for our products and services among pet owners,” said Mr. Cruz. — Patricia B. Mirasol