We know a lot of pet parents will have questions about their pets’ care while we adapt our clinic services and operating procedures due to the Coronavirus pandemic. To make things a little easier, we’ve answered our top FAQ’s below. We sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding during this time. Since issues related to Coronavirus are constantly changing, we will post updates on this page as we have them so check back often. 

Are you open/when will you reopen?

Florida Patients: Our Port Richey, Florida, clinic is now offering scheduled pet visits. *Surrounding counties are currently experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases – schedule ASAP to ensure your pet can be seen, in case we need to close again suddenly. 

Texas Patients & Georgia: Our Royse City, Texas, clinic will begin  offering scheduled pet visits on 8/17/2020.

We hope to begin offering scheduled pet visits at our Georgia clinic and our other Texas locations soon, and we are closely monitoring the current spike in COVID-19 cases to determine when it is safe to reopen. Openings will vary by location, pending the current status of COVID-19 cases. 

We have implemented alternative ways to help serve our clients and their pets, including our recently launched Telemedicine Plus™ service for minor illnesses and intestinal parasite tests.  

*Note: At first, pets must be due for prioritized services such as puppy or kitten vaccines, a rabies vaccine, or heartworm test, but they can have other medical services completed at same time (with the exception of nail trims or anal gland expressions). We’ll schedule visits for other medical services soon after. 

Hurry and schedule soon (or join our wait list if we’re not open yet), as pet visits may have limited availability due to the changing COVID-19 situation. Please note that we are not accepting walk-ins while Coronavirus is still a concern.  

Watch this video tutorial explaining our safe and easy steps for Hybrid Visits™: https://youtu.be/AavFpuLhV_c 

Submit a request for a visit now by completing the form on our Book a Visit page.  

If you haven’t visited us yet, sign-up for our newsletter and select your local clinic to receive an alert when you can schedule a pet visit.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to receive updates and check our location pages for your local clinic’s updates. 

Is it safe to visit for services? 

We are taking all the necessary precautions to implement modified operations that protect both our clients and staff during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our pet visits are designed to be 100% contact-free for our clients.  

At your visit time, you would wear a mask to drop off your pet by simply opening our front door and either clipping their leash to the hook on the door or leaving your carrier just inside the door. Our lobby will be clear of any people, including our team who are required to wear surgical masks and face shields. 

We have also limited staff in our clinics to protect our team members, and we require them to complete daily illness questionnaires before they can provide care for our patients. All of this is in addition to very stringent cleaning protocols, of course! 

Other businesses are open, why aren’t you?

As an organization founded on the principles of protecting the welfare of both animals and humans, Essentials PetCare is committed to the protection of public health at our core. The veterinarians on our leadership team use their training and expertise in infectious disease contagion and management to create our operating policies and procedures that allow us to adhere to these founding principles. Because of this public health knowledge, we will be extremely cautious in our reopening strategy to help protect the health and lives of our team, our clients and our communities. 

We believe if businesses open and people interact too early, the number of positive Coronavirus cases and deaths will likely spike and further extend the time for our communities and country to completely recover. This is of particular concern for our staff who are regularly in close proximity to each other while treating pets. 

Essentials PetCare is taking all of the necessary precautions to implement modified operations that protect our staff and clients during the Coronavirus pandemic. We are also following guidance from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), who recommends providing telemedicine when appropriate, and we are proud to announce that we have implemented this option for our patients.

Prescriptions

How do I get more heartworm or flea prevention for my pet (current Essentials PetCare patients)?

Florida Patients 

Current patients will be due for flea and heartworm prevention if they are due for services. Contact us to set-up your pet’s visit* (no human contact needed).  

Texas Patients & Georgia

If your pet has visited Essentials PetCare in the past 11 months, which means there is a current veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR), and needs a refill prescription for heartworm or flea prevention, please use the Contact Us form to send your request to your local clinic. We will reply with a consent form and more information about how to receive a refill of prevention, one dose at a time, until we reopen. 

IMPORTANT: We can only authorize 1 month of prevention at a time due to the uncertain situation with Coronavirus and not knowing if/when it will be safe to be open. If your pet is in need of a refill now, that means they are due now, or are overdue for a heartworm test and/or vaccines. 

We can only write refills for medications that have already been prescribed at Essentials PetCare, so that a pet does not have a lapse in prevention. If you did not fill a prescription before it expired, your pet may need a visit with a veterinarian so that we know it is in your pet’s best interest to begin receiving preventative medications again. Contact us so that our team can provide guidance.  

If your dog is due for a heartworm test, please plan to come in for a heartworm test and additional prevention refills as soon as we reopen. If your pet missed their scheduled recheck test, it could invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty for heartworm prevention, but it could also be harmful to your pet because the heartworm infestation could be more advanced when detected. At Essentials PetCare, our standard of care is a 6-month heartworm recheck policy, which allows us the opportunity to diagnose heartworm infestations very early and leads to better patient treatment outcomes with less side effects. If your pet has missed any doses of heartworm prevention, retesting as soon as possible becomes even more important.

If it has been more than 11 months since your pet visited us and receiving a prescription refill would push them past the 1-year mark, you will need to form another veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) in person. *Due to Coronavirus, some of the guidelines for veterinary medicine are changing and should that happen regarding the VCPR statute, we will update this page.

Can you approve my prescriptions sent to online pharmacies?

Essentials PetCare cannot approve phone or fax authorizations from online pharmacies. If we gave you a portable prescription, you can turn it in or mail it to the pharmacy of your choice. If you chose to fill your prescriptions through our online pharmacy at your visit, please check your email for a link to access your pet’s prescription.

My pet received only 1 dose of preventative medications. Why didn’t you prescribe more?

Essentials PetCare will provide the number of preventative refill doses based on the discretion and determination of the veterinarian, and refills may be authorized one month at a time if our clinic is closed.  

Your pet was due for preventative medication because they are currently due for preventative care, such as vaccinations and/or a heartworm test. When we reopen, your pet should visit us for those services and additional preventative prescriptions.  

Vaccines and Prepaid Services & Packages (Best Start Packages, Dog Flu Starter Package, etc.)

What will happen to my prepaid package?

If you pre-paid for any services such as our Best Start Puppy and Kitten Packages, or vaccines, we will honor these services once we reopen. If your pet needs additional boosters because their due date occurred during the time we were closed, we will provide these boosters at no additional charge.

Please note that your pet isn’t protected against diseases until 3 weeks after the last booster in their vaccine series. If your pet is overdue for vaccines or unable to complete their vaccine series, please keep them away from other animals and avoid public areas at this time.

If you choose to have any boosters completed elsewhere before our reopening, we can provide a partial refund for unused portions of Best Start Packages once our clinics open. Please note that currently we have no way to process partial credit card refunds without our staff being at the clinic. 

If your pet received vaccines at another facility, please send us the medical records so we can update your pet’s records and adjust any medical reminder due dates. 

What if my pet can’t come in for vaccines on time?

If your pet missed any vaccines because of our closure, we will administer any additional boosters needed at no additional charge. Please be sure to schedule a visit as soon as we reopen. 

If  your pet received vaccines at another facility, please send us the medical records so we can update your pet’s records and adjust any medical reminder due dates. 

Please note that your pet isn’t protected against diseases until 2-3 weeks after the last booster in their vaccine series. If your pet is overdue for vaccines or unable to complete their vaccine series, please keep them away from other animals and avoid public areas at this time.

Records

How can I get my pet’s vaccine records?

Existing clients may use our online pet portal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to access vaccine records. On this site you can conveniently view/print your pet’s vaccination records, access their microchip number, view/print receipts and update your contact information.

If you’ve forgotten your log-in info, check your email for the original welcome message from your clinic. Typically, your username is your email address and initially, your password is the same as your username. The first time you log in, you will be prompted to change your temporary password. If you ever forget your password, please use the Forgot Password link on the page to reset it and choose a new password.

How can I get my pet’s full medical record?

If you need detailed medical records with doctor’s findings, recommendations, or lab results, complete our online form to request.

Other Questions

If you have a non-urgent question or message for our team, you can reach out to us. Our team will reply as soon as possible.

Additional Resources

Federal Guidelines for Opening Up America Again

John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

Florida Cases

Texas Cases

Georgia Cases

CDC: About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)   

Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Info

Texas Department of State Health Services: COVID-19 Info

Georgia Department of Public Health: COVID-19 Info 

AVMA: COVID-19 – FAQ for Pet Owners

AVMA flyer: Protect animals by planning for their care