COVID-19

VMC COVID-19 updates

Due to COVID-19, the Veterinary Medical Center has changed some of our operations that may affect your visit to the hospital.  If you have questions about our COVID-19 preparedness plan, please ask a hospital representative. 

Priority will continue to be given to urgent and emergency cases. Certain specialty services will have more availability than others, to accommodate our most critical patients. We continue to be open 24/7 for emergency medical care. Clients seeking emergency care are encouraged to call ahead (612) 626-8387. 

Please be aware that in order to mitigate the exposure of clients and staff to coronavirus, the VMC has implemented the following measures:

  • Please let us know if you or anyone in the pet's household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • The University of Minnesota and Veterinary Medical Center has reinstituted the requirement that all visitors wear facial coverings indoors and during your visit to the hospital, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • For clients arriving at the hospital, please check in at the front desk with your pet. Hospital intake staff will meet you at the door and ask you COVID screening questions before directing you to an open station at the front desk. Unfortunately, we will not be able to allow visitation to hospitalized patients during their stay except (on a case by case basis with clinician approval) in the case of end of life situations.

Protecting the health of our clients and employees is critical to our being able to provide care to our patients who need it most. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation.

Hospital updates

Lewis Small Animal Hospital

Lewis Small Animal Hospital

We are experiencing higher than usual patient demand at this time and you should expect increased wait times. We thank you for your patience as we manage an unprecedented case load.

Priority will continue to be given to urgent and emergency cases. Certain specialty services will have more availability than others, to accommodate our most critical patients. We continue to be open evenings and weekends for urgent care and 24/7 for emergency medical care. Clients seeking emergency care are encouraged to call ahead (612) 626-8387.

Please be aware that in order to mitigate the exposure of clients and staff to coronavirus, the VMC has implemented the following measures:

  • Please let us know if you or anyone in the pet's household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • The University of Minnesota and Veterinary Medical Center has reinstituted the requirement that all visitors wear facial coverings indoors and during your visit to the hospital, regardless of vaccination status.
  • For clients arriving at the hospital, please check in at the front desk with your pet. Hospital intake staff will meet you at the door and ask you COVID screening questions before directing you to an open station at the front desk. 
  • Due to caseload-related space restrictions in our lobby and exam rooms, you will likely be asked to wait in your car during your pet’s appointment. 
  • Unfortunately, we will not be able to allow visitation to hospitalized patients during their stay except (on a case by case basis with clinician approval) in the case of end of life situations.

Protecting the health of our clients and employees is critical to our being able to provide care to our patients who need it most. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation.

Large Animal & Piper Equine Hospitals

Large Animal & Piper Equine Hospitals

All large animal services are open for appointment scheduling. Please call 612-625-6700 to make an appointment.  We continue to be open 24/7 for emergency medical care.  Clients seeking emergency care after hours should call 612-626-8387 or 612-625-6700 during daytime hours.

  •  Please let us know if you or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • The University of Minnesota and Veterinary Medical Center has reinstituted the requirement that all visitors wear facial coverings indoors and during your visit to the hospital, regardless of vaccination status.
  •  On arrival at the hospital, please check in at the front desk  before unloading the patient.   
  • In most cases, you will be able to accompany your animal for their appointment or wait in our lobby during their examination. 

Protecting the health of our clients and employees is critical to being able to provide care to our patients who need it most.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation.

Piper Equine Hospital

Piper Equine Hospital

All large animal services are open for appointment scheduling. Please call 612-625-6700 to make an appointment. We continue to be open 24/7 for emergency medical care. Clients seeking emergency care after hours should call 612-626-8387 or 612-625-6700 during daytime hours.

  • Please let us know if you or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 such as, fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • The University of Minnesota and Veterinary Medical Center has reinstituted the requirement that all visitors wear facial coverings indoors and during your visit to the hospital, regardless of vaccination status.
  •  On arrival at the hospital, please check in at the front desk before unloading the patient.
  • In most cases, you will be able to accompany your animal for their appointment or wait in our lobby during their examination.

Protecting the health of our clients and employees is critical to being able to provide care to our patients who need it most. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation.

West Metro Equine Practice

West Metro Equine Practice

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the West Metro Equine Practice continues to have some operational changes that may affect your appointment.  If you have questions about our COVID-19 preparedness plan, please call our office at 763-479-2932 or email us at wmep@umn.edu. 

Scheduling Your Appointment

  • All West Metro Equine Practice services are available for appointment scheduling including 24/7 emergency medical care.  
  • Please call 763-479-2932 to schedule an appointment.  When doing so, please let us know if you or anyone in your household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 such as, fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • If calling to refill a prescription, please allow our office a minimum of 24 hours to complete your request.

During Your Appointment

  • For your protection, our veterinarians, staff and students will be wearing face masks during the appointment.  
  • If you are present, we kindly ask that you also wear a face mask and respect a 6-foot distance from us if possible.  

Protecting the health of our clients, employees and students is critical to being able to provide care to our patients who need it most.  We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation.

Helpful reminders for pet owners:

  1. Remember COVID-19 is primarily transmitted between ill people and not from pets to people. Please do not abandon your pets.
  2. Owners who test positive for the SARS-CoV2 virus should limit interaction with their pets to be safe.
  3. Owners should include pets when preparing for potential long home stays, making sure they have enough food, medications, kitty litter and other essentials.

Jennifer Granick, DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate ACVIM (SAIM) talks with KSTP news about important COVID-19 information and tips for pet owners.

Socializing your puppy during the COVID-19 pandemic

There are many other more common causes of cough and respiratory disease in pets. Contact your veterinarian if your pet shows signs of illness.

Frequently asked questions

For your convenience, we have aggregated information for frequently asked questions below. We will update this page as new questions come in.

What is the VMC doing in response to this pandemic?

What is the VMC doing in response to this pandemic?

 We are: 

  • Taking precautions, such as wearing masks, to protect our clients, staff, students, and faculty;
  • Restricting access to our hospital due to capacity restrictions. Due to our unprecedented caseload, we do not have enough room in our lobby and exam rooms for everyone, so most families will wait outside while their pet is receiving care.

Do I need to get my pet tested for COVID-19?

Do I need to get my pet tested for COVID-19?

No. At this time, routine testing of animals for COVID-19 is not recommended. Talk to your veterinarian (via phone or email) about the best ways to care for your pet.

Can animals carry the virus that causes COVID-19 on their skin or fur?

Can animals carry the virus that causes COVID-19 on their skin or fur?

At this time, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets.

Are pets from a shelter safe to adopt?

Are pets from a shelter safe to adopt?

Yes. There is no reason to think that any animals, including shelter pets, in the United States might be a source of COVID-19.

Can humans with COVID-19 infect animals?

Can humans with COVID-19 infect animals?

There have been rare instances where ill humans have infected their pets (e.g. dogs in Hong Kong, cat in Belgium, tigers in New York). Some of these animals have developed respiratory symptoms. As of yet, there have been no documented cases of infected pets transmitting the virus to humans.

If you are ill, what can you do?

If you are ill, what can you do?

Follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  1. Restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19.
  2. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. 
  3. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. 
  4. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them (AVMA 2020)