Dr. Dan Binder is a Veterinary Ophthalmologist at Eye Care for Animals in Warwick, RI. This is a unique specialty. There is only one other practicing Veterinary Ophthalmologist in the state. Since March, and to the present time, the practice is not allowing owners into the office. The office has set up a Curbside Practice, which has been very challenging. The owner brings the pet to the building and the staff bring the animal inside for examination and/or treatment. Dan and his colleagues have been extremely busy this past year, which is also true for all veterinary practices in the state. He’s not sure about what has caused this uptick. It could be “pandemic puppy syndrome”, or, because people are at home more, they’re more aware of their pet’s needs. There are a myriad possibilities. On an average Friday, when the office see’s “patients” all day, they service 50 to 60 pets.
All the intake information is taken over the phone. This new way of doing business is more time consuming. Because the phone rings continuously, the office has hired two additional receptionists. If a pet needs elective treatment, they may have to wait up to a month for an appointment, but if there’s an emergency, the pet is seen that day. The office always makes plans for emergency challenges.
Dan and his colleagues genuinely want to give exemplary service and care. The owners are often stressed. Dan and his staff try to be welcoming and are used to giving comfort and detailed information about the pet’s diagnosis and treatment options. At present that’s more difficult, since the owners are not allowed into the office. It’s so hard to calm a stressed owner, when they can’t see your facial expressions and body language.
Dan has seen most of his clients for years. If a three year old dog requires cataract surgery, the owner will bring the pet back every year for a check-up. Dan is looking forward to being able to allow people back into the building. The owners get upset when they can’t come in with their pet. He has to explain that they’re being very cautious. Neither he nor his staff have gotten sick with covid, so have been able to service 100’s of pets. If any of the staff were to get sick with the virus, they’d have to close down, at least for a while.