Naracoorte and Penola Veterinary Centre kept busy during COVID-19

HAPPY TAIL: Naracoorte and Penola Veterinary Centre veterinarian Jane Gaussen examines an adorable patient during the coronavirus. Photo: Supplied

HAPPY TAIL: Naracoorte and Penola Veterinary Centre veterinarian Jane Gaussen examines an adorable patient during the coronavirus. Photo: Supplied

It appears the region's much-loved pooches, moggies and pets in-between have lived a far from 'ruff' life during the coronavirus pandemic.

That's the belief from the Naracoorte and Penola Veterinary Centre team who were kept busier than usual as housebound residents tended to the care of the family pets.

Veterinarian Jane Gaussen said she and staff were heartened by the many responsible owners who used the time to have their pets assessed.

"During the height of COVID-19 our days were busy, which generally in winter we slow off but we sort of maintained... it's hard to fully say that was due to the coronavirus," she said.

However, the five vets and team of nurse vets worked to a full diary of appointments across both clinics as clients brought in their animals to check on a variety of ailments.

Ms Gaussen said it was evident that the time home enabled their clients to see the day-to-day life of their pets they generally wouldn't when working.

Included in the mix of check-ups were arthritis, itchy skin and sore ears complaints.

"People were picking up on things like that itching to her ears all day long...something they only see as a small part of their day," Ms Gaussen said.

"I believe they had more opportunity to notice."

Importantly, Ms Gaussen says she and the staff are grateful to work among a caring pet owner population.

"Our community, as a whole, love their pets and we have a great clientele base who want the best for them.

"So it was really refreshing to see that."

With pet needs put first the staff managed to diagnose ongoing issues or place them under control during the coronavirus, with other clients pursing ongoing management.

"The time has really given them an opportunity to get into the vet and also have time think about their options and devise a plan the best suits their pets needs," she said.

"They (clients) are really taking our advice well and it's been a great education for all pet owners."

During the height of COVID-19 our days were busy, which generally in winter we slow off but we sort of maintained... it's hard to fully say that was due to the coronavirus.

Veterinarian Jane Gaussen

Moving forward, Ms Gaussen says people should continue to consider their pet's wellbeing as the community eases back into routine.

"You will need to slowly start reintroducing pets to you being gone for a couple of hours for the day and ultimately when you do go back to work full time," she urged.

Ms Gaussen said it's vital to get into a routine which enables animals, especially dogs, to expend their energy they perhaps did with their owner all day long.

"It's about making sure we take our dogs for a walk before work or we interact with them when we get home.

"We may have spent time over lockdown teaching them tricks that has mentally stimulated them too, so giving them toys is a great distraction when you aren't there," she said.

She also suggests 'doggy playdates' to burn some extra energy and provide mental stimulation.

"We do recommend gradual exposure of not having mum or dad around so they know it is not the end of the world," Ms Gaussen said.

Fortunately the wonderful vet nurse staff at both clinics have a host of helpful tips and tricks up their sleeves, and offer a variety of play toys to help in this situation.

"If you are looking for a bit of guidance and ideas, feel free to call into the clinic, especially if you are concerned, we are more than happy to chat," she said.

As Ms Gaussen explains, the service does deal with these situations "semi-frequently" including those who adopt a puppy into their home.

"It's just this time we are going to have some of this guidance for some of our older patients."

"Even though the pets were previously used to us being away, it's been a few months so it's going to be a big change so you need to factor that into your transition to work," she added.