AHNA is taking extreme precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the canine respiratory disease that the Asheville area is presently experiencing. Our number one concern is to protect our non-infected patients who need our care and are coming to the hospital for other reasons. All patients showing possible respiratory disease symptoms are being seen on an outpatient basis in a building that we normally use only for administrative offices. The building is located high up on the hill behind AHNA. Anyone with a dog who has respiratory symptoms must park up near that building so that no patient in our main parking lot will be exposed, and no dogs with respiratory disease will be on our lower hospital grounds or in our hospital. We have very careful disinfection and protection protocols in place in our administrative office building. We have increased the ventilation of the room so that the air is completely changed between patients. Fortunately, once the air is exhausted outside and up, the virus particles are so diluted that they do not pose a risk to animals outside. The area is totally disinfected between patients. All staff members are wearing protective gowns, gloves and shoe covers which are discarded before the staff member leaves the remote exam room.
Almost all cases of respiratory disease that we have treated have responded well to treatment administered at home, but in the event we need to hospitalize a patient, we have the facilities to do so safely. Staff will enter and exit our isolation ward only through the room’s exterior door located on the back of the hospital so that there is no air transfer into the hospital. Our isolation ward is fully self-contained so that once doctors or staff have put on their gowns, foot covers and gloves, they do not have to leave the room to get any supplies. Nothing is ever brought out of the room unless it goes through our decontamination protocol. Our isolation ward has its own exhaust system and the air from the heating and air conditioning system exits the building and never mingles with air heating or cooling the rest of the hospital. An interior glass window allows staff to constantly see the patient in isolation without any danger of the spread of the disease. All of our staff is properly trained in how to prevent the spread of disease.
While it is important for us to provide excellent care to patients suffering from respiratory disease, we are taking every possible precaution to prevent spread to non-infected patients. We feel very fortunate to have the facilities to provide care to those who are sick with a contagious disease while not endangering those patients who are not infected. Please know we understand how much our patients are loved, and help us to treat and protect all of our patients by following these protocols.